Definition of motion in US English:

motion

noun

  • 1The action or process of moving or being moved.

    ‘the laws of planetary motion’
    ‘a cushioned shoe that doesn't restrict motion’
    • ‘The scientist pushes the pendulum across a pin board of magnets and it jerks randomly in constant motion.’
    • ‘Meanwhile coin tossing is in fact a predictable process following predefined physical laws of motion and isn't really random at all.’
    • ‘Johannes Kepler formulated the laws of planetary motion, but died in relative poverty and obscurity in 1631.’
    • ‘For example, the first of Newton's famous laws of motion states that a moving body will continue to move in a straight line, at constant speed, until a force acts on it.’
    • ‘It dealt only with a specific type of motion: objects moving at a constant velocity.’
    • ‘Your feet move in a forward circular motion, allowing you to land evenly on your foot.’
    • ‘That simplifies the process of forward motion quite a bit.’
    • ‘Reese grabbed Jameson's arm as Jameson reached behind his back, and in one motion moved behind Jameson and twisted his arm up behind his neck.’
    • ‘You could see the heat rising in waves off the highway and everything seemed to move in slower motion.’
    • ‘Her body stretched; her legs moved in a graceful, circular, galloping motion.’
    • ‘At that instant he took a step back and threw her with a simple circular motion of his arm, and a twist of his hip.’
    • ‘In one fluid motion, he had moved from the desk chair to his feet and was now standing at Aidan's side.’
    • ‘For Darwin, matter is not static but is constantly in motion, dynamic, so the universe itself is bursting with life, motion, energy.’
    • ‘Sir Isaac Newton formulated a single law of gravitation based on Kepler's three laws of planetary motion.’
    • ‘Randy comes up and tells him that he is not doing anything special - it's only the law of circular motion.’
    • ‘His fight scenes are choreographed with grace and economy of motion - Flint never moves a molecule more than necessary to get the job done.’
    • ‘Simple circular motion as proscribed by Aristotle did not satisfy the observations.’
    • ‘One determines the law of gravitation by studying planetary motion, in which gravity is the only significant causal factor.’
    • ‘Video data is first processed to separate motion from the fixed background.’
    • ‘Johannes Kepler was a German mathematician and astronomer who discovered three key laws that govern planetary motion.’
    • ‘Moving in one fluid motion, she opened the door and stepped inside, closing it behind her with a creak.’
    movement, moving, locomotion, rise and fall, shifting, stirring, to and fro, toing and froing, coming and going
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A gesture.
      ‘she made a motion with her free hand’
      • ‘He looked at the horse in disbelief, and then made a shooing motion with his free hand.’
      • ‘He made a hand motion to indicate that he did not want it.’
      • ‘You've got to be concentrating hard on a mental picture according to the spell you'd like to perform, but most spells also require a hand motion or gesture.’
      • ‘Gabrielle made a hand motion indicating that they were leaving.’
      • ‘I eyed him and he made a motion for me to continue.’
      • ‘He made a slow slicing motion across his throat, miming her death to a tee.’
      • ‘When Don said this he picked up his table knife and made a thrusting motion with it.’
      • ‘He made a motion to Renny to pull out local navigation charts.’
      • ‘He made a motion for me to put the phone down, but I shook my head.’
      • ‘In a swift motion, he kissed his wife upon the lips then raced the few feet of ground and jumped over the cliff that overlooked the sea about six hundred feet below.’
      • ‘She then whipped around making a thrusting motion with her hands.’
      • ‘Mrs. Benson held the storm door firmly shut and smiled saccharinely at the girls while making shooing motions with her free hand.’
      • ‘Berna made a slow sweeping motion with one arm.’
      • ‘In a delicate motion Maria placed her free hand on Erik's, soaking in the warmth of his skin.’
      • ‘He made a circular motion with his hand and Phoenix rolled down the window.’
      • ‘The child didn't move or make any motion of understanding.’
      • ‘At this nod, Kyle gave a quick motion to Keira, signaling that she should join them.’
      • ‘Would they understand a summoning gesture as ‘come here’ or a pushing-away motion as ‘go away’?’
      • ‘She put down the clipboard she was holding and with a slight motion of her head indicated to her assistant to leave the room.’
      • ‘I made motions with my hand signaling Elizabeth to keep it down.’
      gesture, gesticulation, movement, signal, sign, indication
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 A piece of moving mechanism.
  • 2A formal proposal put to a legislature or committee.

    ‘the head of our commission made a motion that we rewrite the constitution’
    • ‘The day ended, by the way, with a censure motion being brought against the minister.’
    • ‘Two-thirds of MSPs have already signed motions against the visa decision but Labour are unlikely to support an SNP motion.’
    • ‘If enough MPs sign the motions, Mr Pike may win a debate on the issue.’
    • ‘Opponents include 264 MPs, who signed an earlier motion expressing ‘grave doubts’ about missile defence.’
    • ‘Cllr Aird had tabled a motion calling on the council to provide additional support to the Tidy Towns committee.’
    • ‘Mori stated that if the no-confidence motion were passed he would call general elections rather than resign.’
    • ‘He planned to propose a motion to City of York Council, calling on it to back the campaign.’
    • ‘At the same meeting Matthew Richardson, a senior Union officer, proposed a motion of no confidence in Rufus.’
    • ‘All five motions have been signed by four of the five councillors elected in the Killarney electoral area in the June 11 poll.’
    • ‘Last year 58 MSPs signed a motion calling for a public debate of the proposals, which is a majority of those eligible to sign motions.’
    • ‘Mr Meacher has signed a Commons motion which says MPs should have the opportunity to consider the issue before ministers give the go-ahead to license GM crops.’
    • ‘The immigration issues that we have raised in this censure motion do not stop there.’
    • ‘The president's substantial majority in the legislature ensured that any impeachment motion would fail.’
    • ‘More than 100 Labour MPs are threatening to vote against the bill on January 27 and 160 have signed a protest motion over fees.’
    • ‘Later on Tuesday, Curley made a motion to defer further consideration of the health budget until his questions could be answered.’
    • ‘The sense that momentum was building for a poll next year was heightened by the tabling of a Commons motion signed by 32 Labour MPs calling for an early referendum.’
    • ‘I start my speech by supporting the no-confidence motion, as advanced by Don Brash on Tuesday.’
    • ‘He would not be able to live down the embarrassment in the event of someone telephoning him, as it was he who proposed the motion at committee to ban mobiles.’
    • ‘More than two-thirds of MSPs who are not part of the Executive signed motions against him entering Britain, making this the adopted view of the parliament.’
    • ‘Of the executive committee members, 14 supported the no-confidence motion while only three members voted against it.’
    proposal, proposition, submission, recommendation, suggestion
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1Law An application for a rule or order of court.
      • ‘Part of his oral motion sought an order that Keller be required to call Jones as his witness.’
      • ‘The respondent has brought a motion for an order dismissing the application.’
      • ‘The plaintiff's motion asks that he be allowed to file an amended statement of claim.’
      • ‘Over the next several years, there were many motions for temporary court orders relating to custody and access.’
      • ‘The motion seeking those orders was dismissed and the applicant then appealed to the Federal Court.’
      • ‘But he said he will file a motion for reconsideration before the same court or the Supreme Court.’
      • ‘The California trial court, however, rejected the defense motion to suppress his incriminating statements.’
      • ‘It is the breach of that order which entitles the aggrieved party to bring a motion for a contempt order.’
      • ‘Defendants file massive summary judgment motions, seeking to dismiss every claim on various grounds.’
      • ‘Copying the practice of some lower courts, the Supreme Court can refer recusal motions to another Justice or a panel of three Justices.’
      • ‘In granting the plaintiff's motion for an injunction Justice Patel found that Napster was liable.’
      • ‘Several of the defendants have brought motions for summary judgment under Rule 20, asking that the plaintiff's claim be dismissed.’
      • ‘On March 15, the defense had to file a motion for a court order to force the prosecution to turn over the rest of the evidence.’
      • ‘Eaton's counsel gave ample warning of his intention to bring the intended summary judgment motion and the reason.’
      • ‘For all of the above reasons, the Applicants' motion for contempt is denied.’
      • ‘Uhler also delayed ruling on several motions by Robertson's attorneys for dismissal of all charges against him.’
      • ‘The law applicable to summary judgment motions is well known.’
      • ‘Last fall the same Plaintiff brought similar motions before the court.’
      • ‘The Attorney General opposed the motion for substitution on procedural grounds.’
      • ‘The plaintiff brought a motion for an order dismissing the action without costs.’

verb

[with object]
  • 1Direct or command (someone) with a movement of the hand or head.

    ‘he motioned Dennis to a plush chair’
    with object and infinitive ‘he motioned the young officer to sit down’
    no object ‘he motioned for a time out’
    • ‘The young officer guided the man in custody to a chair and motioned him to sit down.’
    • ‘Walking up the stairs in her business suit, she motions for me to hurry up.’
    • ‘Tessa turned to look up at Jake, who rolled his eyes before motioning the girls to join him a few feet away.’
    • ‘My thoughts were interrupted by a gentleman motioning me to sit down in his chair.’
    • ‘He motions me to a shiny chrome door which opens to reveal a small gymnasium with a panoramic view of the Thames.’
    • ‘He merely shrugged then motioned a waitress over and ordered himself a beer.’
    • ‘He smiled and noticed that Forrester was motioning him to leave the office.’
    • ‘A friend of Delia's, Ben Lewis, spots us and waves madly, motioning us to sit down with him.’
    • ‘She motions me to a side room, containing more exotic products and a fridge.’
    • ‘When she see her father she breaks into a run, but he motions her to stop.’
    • ‘Mom put her index finger to her mouth, motioning me to stay quiet.’
    • ‘After ten minutes the driver stopped and motioned us all to be quiet.’
    • ‘I turned around to find Pip, who motioned me to come and look at something.’
    • ‘No doubt he had our best interests at heart as he motioned us towards the downward-bound funicular.’
    • ‘It's like retracing the footsteps of a killer, as our tour guide motions us forward.’
    • ‘Then he walked into the dining hall, seated himself and motioned the waiter over.’
    • ‘A woman sitting by the desk motions him to go into another room.’
    • ‘If you enter a colleague's office and you find him on the phone, step right outside again unless he motions you to come in.’
    • ‘He's from the old school, motioning you ahead of him through doorways with a graceful wave of his expressive hands.’
    • ‘Jake turns his head and smiles at me before he motions for me to come closer.’
    • ‘A man walking down the hall toward us stops and motions me to follow him.’
    • ‘He waves and motions for us to join him on the dance floor.’
    • ‘She acknowledged my return with a wave, motioning me to sit down at my desk.’
    gesture, gesticulate, signal, sign, direct, indicate
    View synonyms
  • 2Propose for discussion and resolution at a meeting or legislative assembly.

    ‘a resolution, motioned by Adam Tyler, proposed that members without a CCL could still belong to the association’
    with clause ‘Councillor Byrne motioned that the committee call on the area manager to install street lighting’
    • ‘Dr Macey motioned that the minutes of the November 11, 2005 meeting be accepted.’
    • ‘Mr. Harris motioned that the minutes be approved as corrected.’

Phrases

  • go through the motions

    • 1Do something in a perfunctory way, without any enthusiasm or commitment.

      ‘no drive, no ambition; the team was just turning up to go through the motions’
      • ‘My family, like every other family in America and around the world, sat glued to the television as our leaders went through the motions of returning the murdered President to Washington.’
      • ‘Although the Department went through the motions of investigating complaints, its commitment to enforcing the corporal punishment regulations was half-hearted at best.’
      • ‘So Paolo landed up in Luanda and went through the motions of being an infantryman.’
      • ‘I kept noticing this blank look on her face as if she was just going through the motions… that bored look that just screams, ‘I HATE my job!’’
      • ‘The existential vacuum is the phenemenon which envelops those who go through the motions without feeling any passion or connection to their accomplishments.’
      • ‘It amazes me how often we find ourselves inadvertently going through the motions of achieving things, doing everything we know we're supposed or told to do, but eventually not reaching the finish line, or reaching it a bit too late.’
      • ‘Their presentation itself took about 20 minutes as they went through the motions of explaining all about the central nervous system.’
      • ‘It was an exercise in uncomfortableness - Dr. S., dressed in a painfully tight suit, clutching a juice box, went through the motions of interviewing people he disliked and resented.’
      • ‘She may have gone through the motions and said the words, but really, the more I think about it, the more it seems that she was never really 100% there.’
      • ‘With stars in my eyes, I went through the motions of finishing high school, followed by junior college and then engineering college.’
      pretend, put on an act, put it on, play-act, make believe, fake it
      View synonyms
    • 2Simulate an action.

      ‘a child goes through the motions of washing up’
      • ‘An under-strength squad prepare to take on a leading Test nation and everyone goes through the motions of talking them up, pretending it could be a good contest, looking at the strong points.’
      • ‘He went through the motions of pretending to write out a ticket for the benefit of the other full price passengers.’
      • ‘He would go through the motions, making them believe they controlled him.’
      • ‘Unable to stay still under their gaze for any longer, Pete pretended to yawn, and went through the motions of someone waking up.’
      • ‘Instead of actually using the rope, just pretend and go through the motions.’
      • ‘It seems the Government is just going through the motions of consultation.’
      • ‘The media initially went through the motions of pretending that this was a real election campaign.’
      • ‘I'm still going through the motions and pretending that this is a democracy in which my opinions matter.’
      • ‘Try ‘faking’ the swing, just going through the motions casually.’
      • ‘Finneran, as well as William Sadler and Diana Scarwid as Jaye's parents, paint a gloomy portrait of a family only going through the motions of caring, more for show than for any actual concern.’
      • ‘I was going through the motions, faking the emotions, wriggling around like a lizard on a tin.’
      pretend, put on an act, put it on, play-act, make believe, fake it
      View synonyms
  • set something in motion

    • 1Start something moving or working.

      • ‘This setup allows the wheel to be set in motion once the axle starts to turn.’
      • ‘Once set in motion by the Creator they continued by their own inexorable internal logic.’
      • ‘There was a soft sigh and then the sound of creaking as he sat down in the old rocking chair and set it in motion.’
      • ‘Measure the length of the string before setting the pendulum in motion.’
      • ‘Once set in motion and free of outside disturbances, the axes of these spinning globes should keep pointing in the same direction.’
      propel, drive, drive forwards, move forwards, move, actuate, set in motion, get going, get moving
      start, begin, activate, institute, initiate, launch, get under way, get going, get in operation, get functioning, get working, get off the ground, get the ball rolling, set the ball rolling, start the ball rolling
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1Start or trigger a process or series of events.
        ‘plunging oil prices set in motion an economic collapse’
        • ‘Their disobedience sets in motion a series of life-changing events that will alter the entire town before it's all over.’
        • ‘Little did Christina know that this would be the day that set in motion a chain of events that would splinter her family.’
        • ‘Neville's actions set in motion a chain of events that have become depressingly familiar these days.’
        • ‘To set this in motion it will require a simple club majority of nine votes from 16.’
        • ‘For when Ray happened to mention to the doctor that he was hard of hearing, it set in motion a train of events which eventually led to the discovery he was suffering from a brain tumour.’
        • ‘In June the company missed a quarterly loan payment to its banks, setting in motion the move toward bankruptcy.’
        • ‘For better or for worse, a chain of events has been set in motion by these two that cannot be predicted with any certainty.’
        • ‘That set in motion a sequence of events that I don't think I want to re-visit anytime soon.’
        • ‘The sexual charge between Anna and Dan proves too great however, setting in motion a chain of events which sees these four characters cross paths and rebound in unexpected directions.’
        • ‘This sets in motion a cascading series of events which ratchet up the tension and speed up the pace; turning a mystery into a thriller.’
        • ‘When the bank moves in to foreclose, she decides to double-cross the duo, setting in motion a series of events which spiral out of control.’
        • ‘He dialled 911 and a bizarre series of events was set in motion.’
        • ‘But then the education minister of the time, Thomas Wells, resigned, setting in motion a series of events that changed everything.’
        • ‘But that court appearance set in motion a chain of events which cost him his job, his home and his wife.’
        • ‘This move has set in motion what is likely to become the most acrimonious contest in local athletics history.’
        • ‘A friend mentioned something last night that has set a series of things in motion.’
        start, begin, activate, institute, initiate, launch, get under way, get going, get in operation, get functioning, get working, get off the ground, get the ball rolling, set the ball rolling, start the ball rolling
        View synonyms
  • in motion

    • Moving.

      ‘flowing blonde hair that was constantly in motion’
      • ‘One's clarity of mind while in motion is almost soothing.’
      • ‘Managers and designers can then satisfy themselves that it will look as good in motion in the real world as it does on screen.’
      • ‘I'm possibly a bad driver, but my passengers seem too scared to say anything while we're in motion.’
      • ‘Permanently in motion, he seemed to fear what he might discover in the calm stillness of introspection.’
      • ‘Astronomy in this mould becomes a branch of pure mathematics, the study of spheres in motion.’
      • ‘Vehicles and their occupants in motion have kinetic energy that is dissipated in a crash.’
      • ‘She drew animals in motion during visits to national parks in Botswana, Kenya and Uganda.’
      • ‘These have stopped passengers from getting on and off while the bus is in motion, or alighting where they please.’
      • ‘Jasmine flushed with guilt and couldn't seem to get her feet or her tongue in motion.’
      • ‘The entire tree seemed to be in motion, and more little flocks flew in all the time.’

Origin

Late Middle English: via Old French from Latin motio(n-), from movere ‘to move’.

Pronunciation

motion

/ˈmoʊʃ(ə)n//ˈmōSH(ə)n/