go through the motions


: to do something without making much effort to do it well
He claimed that he was looking for a job, but he was really just going through the motions.

Examples of go through the motions in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Bets that almost certainly can’t lose get people to go through the motions of real-life gambling: linking a bank account, transferring money, placing a bet, and watching the winnings pile up. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, 21 Mar. 2023 The incumbent president made no effort even to go through the motions of presenting a future open to deliberation by citizens. Fintan O’Toole, The New York Review of Books, 10 Nov. 2020 After the introduction of the titular crime and a proto-12 Angry Men jury scene, the film becomes a playful meta-commentary on the inherent silliness of watching actors go through the motions of detective work, with numerous charming visual embellishments. Wesley Stenzel, EW.com, 24 Jan. 2023 Quarterback Sam Hartman, in his second game back after missing time with a medical condition, will not let his offense just go through the motions. USA TODAY, 16 Sep. 2022 Paul's presence won't allow the Suns staff to just go through the motions. Duane Rankin, The Arizona Republic, 20 Feb. 2022 Aside from an annoying habit of retreating to the locker room over injuries that turn out to be minimal, he’s been known to go through the motions — even in big games. San Francisco Chronicle, 16 May 2021 Because a lot of executives go through the motions but don’t actually enjoy genre. Jen Yamatostaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 5 Jan. 2023 Even the righteous go through the motions sometimes. Allan Ripp, WSJ, 20 May 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'go through the motions.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Dictionary Entries Near go through the motions

Cite this Entry

“Go through the motions.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/go%20through%20the%20motions. Accessed 14 Apr. 2024.

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