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’
    • ‘Randy comes up and tells him that he is not doing anything special - it's only the law of circular motion.’
    • ‘That simplifies the process of forward motion quite a bit.’
    • ‘Johannes Kepler formulated the laws of planetary motion, but died in relative poverty and obscurity in 1631.’
    • ‘It dealt only with a specific type of motion: objects moving at a constant velocity.’
    • ‘Video data is first processed to separate motion from the fixed background.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Your feet move in a forward circular motion, allowing you to land evenly on your foot.’
    • ‘Her body stretched; her legs moved in a graceful, circular, galloping motion.’
    • ‘Meanwhile coin tossing is in fact a predictable process following predefined physical laws of motion and isn't really random at all.’
    • ‘The scientist pushes the pendulum across a pin board of magnets and it jerks randomly in constant motion.’
    • ‘One determines the law of gravitation by studying planetary motion, in which gravity is the only significant causal factor.’
    • ‘For Darwin, matter is not static but is constantly in motion, dynamic, so the universe itself is bursting with life, motion, energy.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Moving in one fluid motion, she opened the door and stepped inside, closing it behind her with a creak.’
    • ‘Sir Isaac Newton formulated a single law of gravitation based on Kepler's three laws of planetary motion.’
    • ‘In one fluid motion, he had moved from the desk chair to his feet and was now standing at Aidan's side.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Simple circular motion as proscribed by Aristotle did not satisfy the observations.’
    • ‘You could see the heat rising in waves off the highway and everything seemed to move in slower motion.’
    • ‘Johannes Kepler was a German mathematician and astronomer who discovered three key laws that govern planetary 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.’
    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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Mrs. Benson held the storm door firmly shut and smiled saccharinely at the girls while making shooing motions with her free hand.’
      • ‘She then whipped around making a thrusting motion with her hands.’
      • ‘I eyed him and he made a motion for me to continue.’
      • ‘He made a motion for me to put the phone down, but I shook my head.’
      • ‘He made a motion to Renny to pull out local navigation charts.’
      • ‘Would they understand a summoning gesture as ‘come here’ or a pushing-away motion as ‘go away’?’
      • ‘The child didn't move or make any motion of understanding.’
      • ‘Gabrielle made a hand motion indicating that they were leaving.’
      • ‘She put down the clipboard she was holding and with a slight motion of her head indicated to her assistant to leave the room.’
      • ‘At this nod, Kyle gave a quick motion to Keira, signaling that she should join them.’
      • ‘He made a circular motion with his hand and Phoenix rolled down the window.’
      • ‘When Don said this he picked up his table knife and made a thrusting motion with it.’
      • ‘He made a slow slicing motion across his throat, miming her death to a tee.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I made motions with my hand signaling Elizabeth to keep it down.’
      • ‘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.’
      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’
    • ‘Two-thirds of MSPs have already signed motions against the visa decision but Labour are unlikely to support an SNP motion.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Opponents include 264 MPs, who signed an earlier motion expressing ‘grave doubts’ about missile defence.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The president's substantial majority in the legislature ensured that any impeachment motion would fail.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘At the same meeting Matthew Richardson, a senior Union officer, proposed a motion of no confidence in Rufus.’
    • ‘Later on Tuesday, Curley made a motion to defer further consideration of the health budget until his questions could be answered.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The immigration issues that we have raised in this censure motion do not stop there.’
    • ‘He planned to propose a motion to City of York Council, calling on it to back the campaign.’
    • ‘All five motions have been signed by four of the five councillors elected in the Killarney electoral area in the June 11 poll.’
    • ‘Mori stated that if the no-confidence motion were passed he would call general elections rather than resign.’
    • ‘I start my speech by supporting the no-confidence motion, as advanced by Don Brash on Tuesday.’
    • ‘More than 100 Labour MPs are threatening to vote against the bill on January 27 and 160 have signed a protest motion over fees.’
    • ‘Of the executive committee members, 14 supported the no-confidence motion while only three members voted against it.’
    • ‘The day ended, by the way, with a censure motion being brought against the minister.’
    • ‘If enough MPs sign the motions, Mr Pike may win a debate on the issue.’
    • ‘Cllr Aird had tabled a motion calling on the council to provide additional support to the Tidy Towns committee.’
    proposal, proposition, submission, recommendation, suggestion
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1Law An application for a rule or order of court.
      • ‘The law applicable to summary judgment motions is well known.’
      • ‘Over the next several years, there were many motions for temporary court orders relating to custody and access.’
      • ‘It is the breach of that order which entitles the aggrieved party to bring a motion for a contempt order.’
      • ‘The plaintiff's motion asks that he be allowed to file an amended statement of claim.’
      • ‘Copying the practice of some lower courts, the Supreme Court can refer recusal motions to another Justice or a panel of three Justices.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The Attorney General opposed the motion for substitution on procedural grounds.’
      • ‘Last fall the same Plaintiff brought similar motions before the court.’
      • ‘But he said he will file a motion for reconsideration before the same court or the Supreme Court.’
      • ‘The plaintiff brought a motion for an order dismissing the action without costs.’
      • ‘Defendants file massive summary judgment motions, seeking to dismiss every claim on various grounds.’
      • ‘Several of the defendants have brought motions for summary judgment under Rule 20, asking that the plaintiff's claim be dismissed.’
      • ‘The respondent has brought a motion for an order dismissing the application.’
      • ‘Uhler also delayed ruling on several motions by Robertson's attorneys for dismissal of all charges against him.’
      • ‘The California trial court, however, rejected the defense motion to suppress his incriminating statements.’
      • ‘Part of his oral motion sought an order that Keller be required to call Jones as his witness.’
      • ‘The motion seeking those orders was dismissed and the applicant then appealed to the Federal Court.’
      • ‘In granting the plaintiff's motion for an injunction Justice Patel found that Napster was liable.’
      • ‘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.’

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’
    • ‘I turned around to find Pip, who motioned me to come and look at something.’
    • ‘He waves and motions for us to join him on the dance floor.’
    • ‘My thoughts were interrupted by a gentleman motioning me to sit down in his chair.’
    • ‘He's from the old school, motioning you ahead of him through doorways with a graceful wave of his expressive hands.’
    • ‘Walking up the stairs in her business suit, she motions for me to hurry up.’
    • ‘Jake turns his head and smiles at me before he motions for me to come closer.’
    • ‘A friend of Delia's, Ben Lewis, spots us and waves madly, motioning us to sit down with him.’
    • ‘He smiled and noticed that Forrester was motioning him to leave the office.’
    • ‘Tessa turned to look up at Jake, who rolled his eyes before motioning the girls to join him a few feet away.’
    • ‘A woman sitting by the desk motions him to go into another room.’
    • ‘No doubt he had our best interests at heart as he motioned us towards the downward-bound funicular.’
    • ‘The young officer guided the man in custody to a chair and motioned him to sit down.’
    • ‘After ten minutes the driver stopped and motioned us all to be quiet.’
    • ‘She motions me to a side room, containing more exotic products and a fridge.’
    • ‘He merely shrugged then motioned a waitress over and ordered himself a beer.’
    • ‘Then he walked into the dining hall, seated himself and motioned the waiter over.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Mom put her index finger to her mouth, motioning me to stay quiet.’
    • ‘It's like retracing the footsteps of a killer, as our tour guide motions us forward.’
    • ‘She acknowledged my return with a wave, motioning me to sit down at my desk.’
    • ‘He motions me to a shiny chrome door which opens to reveal a small gymnasium with a panoramic view of the Thames.’
    • ‘A man walking down the hall toward us stops and motions me to follow him.’
    • ‘When she see her father she breaks into a run, but he motions her to stop.’
    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’
    • ‘Mr. Harris motioned that the minutes be approved as corrected.’
    • ‘Dr Macey motioned that the minutes of the November 11, 2005 meeting be accepted.’

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’
      • ‘So Paolo landed up in Luanda and went through the motions of being an infantryman.’
      • ‘The existential vacuum is the phenemenon which envelops those who go through the motions without feeling any passion or connection to their accomplishments.’
      • ‘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!’’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘With stars in my eyes, I went through the motions of finishing high school, followed by junior college and then engineering college.’
      • ‘Although the Department went through the motions of investigating complaints, its commitment to enforcing the corporal punishment regulations was half-hearted at best.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Their presentation itself took about 20 minutes as they went through the motions of explaining all about the central nervous system.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      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’
      • ‘Unable to stay still under their gaze for any longer, Pete pretended to yawn, and went through the motions of someone waking up.’
      • ‘He went through the motions of pretending to write out a ticket for the benefit of the other full price passengers.’
      • ‘I'm still going through the motions and pretending that this is a democracy in which my opinions matter.’
      • ‘It seems the Government is just going through the motions of consultation.’
      • ‘He would go through the motions, making them believe they controlled him.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I was going through the motions, faking the emotions, wriggling around like a lizard on a tin.’
      • ‘The media initially went through the motions of pretending that this was a real election campaign.’
      • ‘Instead of actually using the rope, just pretend and go through the motions.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Try ‘faking’ the swing, just going through the motions casually.’
      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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Once set in motion by the Creator they continued by their own inexorable internal logic.’
      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’
        • ‘In June the company missed a quarterly loan payment to its banks, setting in motion the move toward bankruptcy.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘That set in motion a sequence of events that I don't think I want to re-visit anytime soon.’
        • ‘He dialled 911 and a bizarre series of events was set in motion.’
        • ‘Little did Christina know that this would be the day that set in motion a chain of events that would splinter her family.’
        • ‘Their disobedience sets in motion a series of life-changing events that will alter the entire town before it's all over.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘For better or for worse, a chain of events has been set in motion by these two that cannot be predicted with any certainty.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘But that court appearance set in motion a chain of events which cost him his job, his home and his wife.’
        • ‘Neville's actions set in motion a chain of events that have become depressingly familiar these days.’
        • ‘But then the education minister of the time, Thomas Wells, resigned, setting in motion a series of events that changed everything.’
        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’
      • ‘Managers and designers can then satisfy themselves that it will look as good in motion in the real world as it does on screen.’
      • ‘One's clarity of mind while in motion is almost soothing.’
      • ‘I'm possibly a bad driver, but my passengers seem too scared to say anything while we're in motion.’
      • ‘Vehicles and their occupants in motion have kinetic energy that is dissipated in a crash.’
      • ‘These have stopped passengers from getting on and off while the bus is in motion, or alighting where they please.’
      • ‘Astronomy in this mould becomes a branch of pure mathematics, the study of spheres in motion.’
      • ‘She drew animals in motion during visits to national parks in Botswana, Kenya and Uganda.’
      • ‘The entire tree seemed to be in motion, and more little flocks flew in all the time.’
      • ‘Permanently in motion, he seemed to fear what he might discover in the calm stillness of introspection.’
      • ‘Jasmine flushed with guilt and couldn't seem to get her feet or her tongue in motion.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation

motion

/ˈmōSH(ə)n//ˈmoʊʃ(ə)n/