Definition of set something in motion in US English:

set something in motion

phrase

  • 1Start something moving or working.

    • ‘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 and free of outside disturbances, the axes of these spinning globes should keep pointing in the same direction.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Measure the length of the string before setting the pendulum in motion.’
    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
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    1. 1.1 Start or trigger a process or series of events.
      ‘plunging oil prices set in motion an economic collapse’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘To set this in motion it will require a simple club majority of nine votes from 16.’
      • ‘This move has set in motion what is likely to become the most acrimonious contest in local athletics history.’
      • ‘In June the company missed a quarterly loan payment to its banks, setting in motion the move toward bankruptcy.’
      • ‘A friend mentioned something last night that has set a series of things in motion.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘That set in motion a sequence of events that I don't think I want to re-visit anytime soon.’
      • ‘Neville's actions set in motion a chain of events that have become depressingly familiar these days.’
      • ‘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.’
      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