motion

noun
mo·​tion | \ ˈmō-shən How to pronounce motion (audio) \

Definition of motion

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : an act, process, or instance of changing place : movement a pendulum in motion
b : an active or functioning state or condition set the divorce proceedings in motion
2 : an impulse or inclination of the mind or will the fundamental motions of humanity to good or evil— T. S. Eliot
3a : a proposal for action especially : a formal proposal made in a deliberative assembly made a motion that the meeting be adjourned
b : an application made to a court or judge to obtain an order, ruling, or direction His motion for a new trial was denied.
4 obsolete
a : a puppet show
b : puppet
6a : an act or instance of moving the body or its parts : gesture signaled with a motion of his arm
b motions plural : activities, movements taking advantage of the night to conceal his motions
7 : melodic change of pitch
in motion
American Football, of an offensive player : running parallel to the line of scrimmage before the snap

motion

verb
motioned; motioning\ ˈmō-​sh(ə-​)niŋ How to pronounce motion (audio) \

Definition of motion (Entry 2 of 3)

intransitive verb

: to signal by a movement or gesture the pitcher motioned to the catcher

transitive verb

: to direct by a motion motioned me to the seat

Motion

biographical name
Mo·​tion | \ ˈmō-shən How to pronounce Motion (audio) \

Definition of Motion (Entry 3 of 3)

Sir Andrew 1952–     British poet; poet laureate (1999–2009)

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from motion

Noun

motional \ ˈmō-​shnəl How to pronounce Motion (audio) , -​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective
motionless \ ˈmō-​shən-​ləs How to pronounce Motion (audio) \ adjective
motionlessly adverb
motionlessness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for motion

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Noun

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of motion in a Sentence

Noun She has a simple golf swing with no wasted motion. the rhythmic motions of the waves He caught the ball and flipped it back to me in one fluid motion. The wax should be applied using a circular motion. He made hand motions to get our attention. She made a motion calling for the repeal of the law. Her motion was voted on. His lawyer filed a motion for a mistrial. The judge denied a motion to delay the hearing. Verb The guard motioned us through the gate. She motioned to her assistant. She motioned at the empty chair beside her and told me to sit down.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Her attorneys filed a motion to the Alabama Supreme Court, asking the high court to vacate the lower court’s order and appointment of the temporary guardian and conservator, and to dismiss the petition. Ivana Hrynkiw | Ihrynkiw@al.com, al, "Joann Bashinsky, widow of Golden Flake CEO, dies at 89," 5 Jan. 2021 Earl Gray, an attorney for former officer Thomas K. Lane, quickly filed an objection to the state’s motion to delay the trial over covid-19 risks. Washington Post, "Prosecutors cite covid-19 in request for three-month delay in George Floyd trial," 31 Dec. 2020 His defense attorney Bryan Kennedy filed a motion to have the portraits of White judges removed from the courtroom where his client's trial is scheduled. Harmeet Kaur, CNN, "A judge rules that a Black defendant shouldn't have to stand trial in a courtroom decorated with portraits of mostly White judges," 24 Dec. 2020 Flessner came under fire after the Law Department filed a motion to prevent WBBM-Ch. 2 from airing body camera footage of Chicago police officers mistakenly raiding Young’s home. Gregory Pratt, chicagotribune.com, "All Chicago cops involved in Anjanette Young raid placed on desk duty, Lightfoot announces," 21 Dec. 2020 In response to the city’s request for a preliminary injunction, Instacart filed a motion that pointed to the introduction of on-demand orders in July 2019, among other factors, as evidence of the flexibility granted to contractors. Los Angeles Times, "Unfair ratings cost some Instacart shoppers hundreds a week. Here’s what’s happening," 21 Dec. 2020 Attorneys for the state have refused to schedule a deposition for Washington, and Detroit attorney Jonathan Marko last week filed a motion to compel her testimony. Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan prison internal affairs chief alleges improper meddling by boss," 21 Dec. 2020 Saying Page had failed to return the children on time, Sherrick filed an emergency motion with the judge for custody of the children. Marshall Allen, ProPublica, "The Family Court Judge Who Threatened a Mother With Contempt of Court for Getting Her Child a COVID-19 Test," 20 Dec. 2020 Even after the video was in her possession, the department filed an emergency motion in federal court to stop CBS Chicago from airing the footage, a move that failed. Zoe Christen Jones, CBS News, ""You've got the wrong house": Video shows Chicago police handcuffing innocent naked woman during raid on wrong apartment," 17 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Trubisky tried to motion Mooney back toward the middle of the field but ultimately launched a trust throw into Soldier Field’s north end zone. Dan Wiederer, chicagotribune.com, "Chicago Bears QB rewind: Was Mitch Trubisky’s strong first half more telling than his second-half struggles in Week 2?," 22 Sep. 2020 But when the Falcons motion their fullback left, Bosa decreases his split from a 7 to a 6i. Ellis L. Williams, cleveland, "Borrowing from the 49ers’ defensive line approach could propel the Browns’ Myles Garrett to his best season yet : Film review," 20 Aug. 2020 DeWine handed the microphone to Acton, dressed in a dark suit, and had to motion her toward the podium. Jessie Balmert, Cincinnati.com, "First came the pandemic, then came the politics: Why Amy Acton quit," 13 June 2020 The push, the pulls’ At the Emergency Operations Center, Fire Chief Charles Hood motioned for Emerick to step out of a meeting of the testing task force and into the central command space. Brian Chasnoff, ExpressNews.com, "Metro Health director came to San Antonio just ahead of the coronavirus," 16 May 2020 Tatum motioned to Gordon Hayward, who caught a pass well beyond the left arc with 14 seconds left. Adam Himmelsbach, BostonGlobe.com, "Did the Celtics make right move not calling time to set up last play against Rockets in overtime loss?," 1 Mar. 2020 Board Chairwoman Kathleen Causey raised the topic of the election for chair and vice chair, and Vice Chair Julie Henn immediately motioned to move the board into a closed administrative session without a closing statement that is required by law. Cody Boteler, baltimoresun.com, "Baltimore County school board violated open meetings law, parent alleges," 5 Dec. 2019 Second, motioning his wide receiver in tight helped block the run call, yet the motion did not give the play away. cleveland, "Kevin Stefanski wants a healthy ‘marriage’ between run and pass. What might that look like for the Browns? -- Film review," 15 Jan. 2020 Watch how motioning the slot receiver forces the Chargers defense into a check. Ellis L. Williams, cleveland, "Browns fullback Andy Janovich possesses the tools to become Kevin Stefanski’s secret weapon -- Film review," 3 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'motion.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of motion

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1747, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for motion

Noun and Verb

Middle English mocioun, from Anglo-French motion, from Latin motion-, motio movement, from movēre to move

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about motion

Time Traveler for motion

Time Traveler

The first known use of motion was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for motion

Last Updated

14 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Motion.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/motion. Accessed 17 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for motion

motion

noun
How to pronounce Motion (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of motion

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an act or process of moving
: a movement of your body or of a part of your body
: a formal suggestion or proposal that is made at a meeting for something to be done

motion

verb

English Language Learners Definition of motion (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make a movement of your hand, head, etc., that tells someone to move or act in a certain way

motion

noun
mo·​tion | \ ˈmō-shən How to pronounce motion (audio) \

Kids Definition of motion

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an act or process of changing place or position : movement We felt the swaying motion of the train.
2 : a movement of the body or its parts … the motion of his arms was not unlike the flapping of a pair of wings.— Washington Irving, “Sleepy Hollow”
3 : a formal plan or suggestion for action offered according to the rules of a meeting She made a motion to adjourn.

Other Words from motion

motionless \ -​ləs \ adjective She stood motionless.

motion

verb
motioned; motioning

Kids Definition of motion (Entry 2 of 2)

: to direct or signal by a movement or sign Instantly she set the bird down and motioned everyone away …— Carolyn Keene, The Double Jinx Mystery

motion

noun
mo·​tion | \ ˈmō-shən How to pronounce motion (audio) \

Medical Definition of motion

1 : an act, process, or instance of changing place : movement
2a : an evacuation of the bowels
b : the matter evacuated often used in plural blood in the motionsLancet

Keep scrolling for more

motion

noun
mo·​tion

Legal Definition of motion

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a proposal for action especially : a formal proposal made in a legislative assembly made a motion to refer the bill to committee
2a : an application made to a court or judge to obtain an order, ruling, or direction a motion to arrest judgment also : a document containing such an application
b : the initiative of a court to issue an order, ruling, or direction the court is given discretion to order a pretrial conference either on its own motion or at the request of a party— J. H. Friedenthal et al.
motion for a more definite statement
: a motion that is filed before an answer and that requests the court to order the plaintiff to clarify allegations in the complaint because the claims are so vague or ambiguous that an answer cannot reasonably be framed
motion for judgment on the pleadings
: a motion made after pleadings have been entered that requests the court to issue a judgment at that point — compare summary judgment at judgment sense 1a

Note: Under Rule 12(d) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, if matters outside of the pleadings are presented to the court when a motion for judgment on the pleadings is made, the motion will be treated as a motion for summary judgment.

motion in limine \ -​in-​ˈli-​mə-​nē \
: a usually pretrial motion that requests the court to issue an interlocutory order which prevents an opposing party from introducing or referring to potentially irrelevant, prejudicial, or otherwise generally inadmissible evidence until the court has finally ruled on its admissibility
motion to strike
1 : a motion in a civil trial to remove from a pleading an insufficient defense or any redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous matter
2 : a motion in a criminal trial to exclude evidence from the record
motion to suppress
: a pretrial motion requesting the court to exclude evidence that was obtained illegally and especially in violation of Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendment protections
omnibus motion \ ˈäm-​ni-​bəs-​ \
: a motion that makes multiple requests filing an omnibus motion to dismiss and for a more definite statementDepartment of Ins. of Florida v. Coopers & Lybrand, 570 So. 2d 369 (1990)

motion

verb

Legal Definition of motion (Entry 2 of 2)

: move motioned for a summary judgment

History and Etymology for motion

Noun

Anglo-French, from Latin motion-, motio movement, from movēre to move

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on motion

What made you want to look up motion? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Words of Snow and Ice Quiz

  • image1037863653
  • Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Typeshift

Anagram puzzles meet word search.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!