motion

1 of 2

noun

mo·​tion ˈmō-shən How to pronounce motion (audio)
1
a
: 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 evilT. S. Eliot
3
a
: 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
5
6
a
: 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
motional adjective
motionless adjective
motionlessly adverb
motionlessness noun

motion

2 of 2

verb

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

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
Phrases
in motion
American Football, of an offensive player : running parallel to the line of scrimmage before the snap

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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
In open session at 5 p.m., the council will give final approval to a change in council procedures to allow for a motion and second before further consideration of an agenda item. Laura Groch feb. 5, San Diego Union-Tribune, 5 Feb. 2023 The ruling, issued Monday by U.S. District Judge Paul Crotty in the Southern District of New York, denied a motion brought by individuals and mental health organizations in December. Celina Tebor, CNN, 4 Feb. 2023
Verb
Board member Diane Alvarez, representing District E, motioned to table the vote, citing a number of pushbacks from public comment speakers before the decision was brought to the board’s floor hours later. Ben Terzi, Baltimore Sun, 19 Mar. 2024 The page motioned to the door, signaling me to watch. Seija Rankin, The Hollywood Reporter, 21 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for motion 

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

Word History

Etymology

Noun and Verb

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

First Known Use

Noun

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

Verb

1747, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

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

Dictionary Entries Near motion

Cite this Entry

“Motion.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/motion. Accessed 19 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

motion

1 of 2 noun
mo·​tion ˈmō-shən How to pronounce motion (audio)
1
: a formal plan or suggestion for action offered according to the rules of a meeting
a motion to adjourn
2
a
: an act or process of changing place or position : movement
b
: an act or instance of moving the body or its parts : gesture
motionless adjective
motionlessly adverb
motionlessness noun

motion

2 of 2 verb
motioned; motioning ˈmō-sh(ə-)niŋ How to pronounce motion (audio)
: to direct or signal by a movement or sign
motioned me to come forward

Medical Definition

motion

noun
mo·​tion ˈmō-shən How to pronounce motion (audio)
1
: an act, process, or instance of changing place : movement
2
a
: an evacuation of the bowels
b
: the matter evacuated
often used in plural
blood in the motionsLancet

Legal Definition

motion

1 of 2 noun
mo·​tion
1
: a proposal for action
especially : a formal proposal made in a legislative assembly
made a motion to refer the bill to committee
2
a
: 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 partyJ. 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
: a motion in a civil trial to remove from a pleading an insufficient defense or any redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous matter
: 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

2 of 2 verb
: move
motioned for a summary judgment
Etymology

Noun

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

Biographical Definition

Motion

biographical name

Mo·​tion ˈmō-shən How to pronounce Motion (audio)
Sir Andrew 1952–     British poet; poet laureate (1999–2009)

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