View synonyms for motion


[ moh-shuhn ]


  1. the action or process of moving or of changing place or position; movement.
  2. power of movement, as of a living body.
  3. the manner of moving the body in walking; gait.

    Synonyms: carriage, bearing

  4. a bodily movement or change of posture; gesture.
  5. a proposal formally made to a deliberative assembly:

    to make a motion to adjourn.

  6. Law. an application made to a court or judge for an order, ruling, or the like.
  7. a suggestion or proposal.
  8. an inward prompting or impulse; inclination:

    He will go only of his own motion.

  9. Music. melodic progression, as the change of a voice part from one pitch to another.
  10. Machinery.
    1. a piece of mechanism with a particular action or function.
    2. the action of such a mechanism.

verb (used with object)

  1. to direct by a significant motion or gesture, as with the hand:

    to motion a person to a seat.

verb (used without object)

  1. to make a meaningful motion, as with the hand; gesture; signal:

    to motion to someone to come.



/ ˈməʊʃən /


  1. the process of continual change in the physical position of an object; movement kinetic

    linear motion

  2. 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
  3. a mental impulse
  4. a formal proposal to be discussed and voted on in a debate, meeting, etc
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. in motion
    operational or functioning (often in the phrases set in motion, set the wheels in motion )


  1. when tr, may take a clause as object or an infinitive to signal or direct (a person) by a movement or gesture



/ ˈməʊʃən /


  1. MotionAndrew1952MBritishWRITING: poetWRITING: biographer Sir Andrew. born 1952, British poet and biographer; his collections include Pleasure Steamers (1978) and Public Property (2002): poet laureate (1999–2009)

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Derived Forms

  • ˈmotional, adjective

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Other Words From

  • motion·al adjective
  • motion·er noun
  • inter·motion noun
  • non·motion noun
  • self-motion noun
  • under·motion noun
  • un·motioned adjective
  • un·motion·ing adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of motion1

First recorded before 1350–1400; Middle English mocio(u)n, from Latin mōtiōn- (stem of mōtiō ), equivalent to mōt(us) (past participle of movēre move ) + -iōn- -ion

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Word History and Origins

Origin of motion1

C15: from Latin mōtiō a moving, from movēre to move

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Idioms and Phrases

  1. go through the motions, to do something halfheartedly, routinely, or as a formality or façade.
  2. in motion, in active operation; moving:

    The train was already in motion when he tried to board it.

More idioms and phrases containing motion

see go through the motions ; set in motion ; set the wheels in motion .

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Synonym Study

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.

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Example Sentences

Every frame looks like an ukiyo-e print in motion, kinetic and untethered to the physical world.

From Vox

Committees for the Republican Senatorial and Congressional campaigns filed motions in the case, arguing that election rules, including the staff prohibition, should not be changed.

Our eyes contain cones, which are the cells that sense color, and rods, which sense motion.

The Fujitsu team built an artificial-intelligence program that could learn to recognize and outline a human skeleton within these motion data.

To turn methanol into motion, the researchers coated a nickel-titanium alloy wire with platinum.

I wonder what that lady is doing now, and if she knows what she set in motion with Archer?

The train was already in motion as she tried to step inside, and her body was crushed beneath it.

Stop-motion animation artist PES has unveiled a new short this week.

But what he did set in motion a series of events that ended in his life being lost.

This year McQueen picked up three Oscars (including best picture) for his third motion picture 12 Years A Slave.

In this situation we waited the motion of the enemy, without perceiving any advancement they made towards us.

These sections also have vibrations of their own which are of shorter length and more rapid motion.

Felipe watched over her as a lover might; her great mournful eyes followed his every motion.

At six o'clock I felt once more the welcome motion of a Railroad car, and at eight was in Venice.

The first jolt had like to have shaken me out of my hammock, but afterwards the motion was easy enough.


Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.




motilitymotion capture