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[moh-shuh n] /ˈmoʊ ʃən/
the action or process of moving or of changing place or position; movement.
power of movement, as of a living body.
the manner of moving the body in walking; gait.
a bodily movement or change of posture; gesture.
a proposal formally made to a deliberative assembly:
to make a motion to adjourn.
Law. an application made to a court or judge for an order, ruling, or the like.
a suggestion or proposal.
an inward prompting or impulse; inclination:
He will go only of his own motion.
Music. melodic progression, as the change of a voice part from one pitch to another.
  1. a piece of mechanism with a particular action or function.
  2. the action of such a mechanism.
verb (used with object)
to direct by a significant motion or gesture, as with the hand:
to motion a person to a seat.
verb (used without object)
to make a meaningful motion, as with the hand; gesture; signal:
to motion to someone to come.
go through the motions, to do something halfheartedly, routinely, or as a formality or façade.
in motion, in active operation; moving:
The train was already in motion when he tried to board it.
Origin of motion
1350-1400; Middle English mocio(u)n < Latin mōtiōn- (stem of mōtiō), equivalent to mōt(us) (past participle of movēre to move) + -iōn- -ion
Related forms
motional, adjective
motioner, noun
intermotion, noun
nonmotion, noun
self-motion, noun
undermotion, noun
unmotioned, adjective
unmotioning, adjective
1. Motion, move, movement refer to change of position in space. Motion denotes change of position, either considered apart from, or as a characteristic of, something that moves; usually the former, in which case it is often a somewhat technical or scientific term: perpetual motion. The chief uses of move are founded upon the idea of moving a piece, in chess or a similar game, for winning the game, and hence the word denotes any change of position, condition, or circumstances for the accomplishment of some end: a shrewd move to win votes. Movement is always connected with the person or thing moving, and is usually a definite or particular motion: the movements of a dance. 3. bearing, carriage. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for motion
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Renwick, crouched beneath the foliage, was incapable of motion.

    The Secret Witness George Gibbs
  • The procedure was that of a grand jury set in motion by common report.

    Folkways William Graham Sumner
  • Xoli gave the signal, and the soul of the Chalcan girl broke forth in motion.

    The Fair God Lew Wallace
  • Its march proceeds from picture to picture, to which, motion gives life.

    A Treatise on the Art of Dancing Giovanni-Andrea Gallini
  • The wolf seconded the motion, and the hyena said that suits.

    Hell Robert G. Ingersoll
British Dictionary definitions for motion


the process of continual change in the physical position of an object; movement: linear motion, related adjective kinetic
a movement or action, esp of part of the human body; a gesture
  1. the capacity for movement
  2. a manner of movement, esp walking; gait
a mental impulse
a formal proposal to be discussed and voted on in a debate, meeting, etc
(law) an application made to a judge or court for an order or ruling necessary to the conduct of legal proceedings
  1. the evacuation of the bowels
  2. excrement
  1. part of a moving mechanism
  2. the action of such a part
(music) the upward or downward course followed by a part or melody. Parts whose progressions are in the same direction exhibit similar motion, while two parts whose progressions are in opposite directions exhibit contrary motion See also parallel (sense 3)
go through the motions
  1. to act or perform the task (of doing something) mechanically or without sincerity
  2. to mimic the action (of something) by gesture
in motion, operational or functioning (often in the phrases set in motion, set the wheels in motion)
(when transitive, may take a clause as object or an infinitive) to signal or direct (a person) by a movement or gesture
Derived Forms
motional, adjective
Word Origin
C15: from Latin mōtiō a moving, from movēre to move


Sir Andrew. born 1952, British poet and biographer; his collections include Pleasure Steamers (1978) and Public Property (2002): poet laureate (1999–2009)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for motion

late 14c., "suggestion; process of moving," from Old French mocion "movement, motion; change, alteration" (13c.), from Latin motionem (nominative motio) "a moving, a motion; an emotion," from past participle stem of movere "to move" (see move (v.)). Motion picture attested from 1896.


late 15c., "to request, petition" (obsolete), from motion (n.). The sense in parliamentary procedure first recorded 1747; with meaning "to guide or direct by a sign, gesture, movement" it is attested from 1787. Related: Motioned; motioning.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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motion in Medicine

motion mo·tion (mō'shən)

  1. The act or process of changing position or place.

  2. The manner in which the body or a body part moves.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Idioms and Phrases with motion
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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