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
5 : mechanism
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 motioning (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 motional (audio) , -​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective
motionless \ ˈmō-​shən-​ləs How to pronounce motionless (audio) \ adjective
motionlessly adverb
motionlessness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for motion

Synonyms: Noun

move, movement, shift, shifting, stir, stirring

Synonyms: Verb

beckon, flag, gesture, signal, wave

Antonyms: Noun

motionlessness

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

After reviewing the play in real-time or slow-motion, the referee decides whether to change his decision. Eric Niiler, WIRED, "Video Review Is Changing Soccer, and No One Seems to Want It," 9 Aug. 2019 Alcocer made a motion, supported by Councilor Donna Charles, to defer Baldridge’s comments until the council deliberates at the conclusion of testimony. Scott Huddleston, ExpressNews.com, "Leon Valley councilman fires back against allegations," 8 Aug. 2019 The number of reports of seizures or other neurological symptoms possibly related to e-cigarettes received by the US Food and Drug Administration between 2010 and 2019 Why are slow-motion videos so satisfying to watch? Aj Willingham, CNN, "5 things to know for August 8: Puerto Rico, stabbing rampage, Hong Kong, State Dept," 8 Aug. 2019 The remaining gaits are the walk and gallop and are used to study a horse’s motion, physics, and style. Megan Woodward, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Talbot Run’s summer camp helps local riders ‘form a connection’ with horses," 1 Aug. 2019 The Great Condom Caper: With their game plan in motion, Lulu, Damon and Ricky head upstate with Elektra, Blanca, Pray and Nurse Judy to get the job done. Stephen Daw, Billboard, "Condoms, Consequences & Community: 5 Key Takeaways from Episode 7 of 'Pose' Season 2," 31 July 2019 Massage parlors seem to be in perpetual motion, as if stuck on spin cycle. USA Today, "Sex trafficking is behind the lucrative illicit massage business. Why police can't stop it.," 30 July 2019 Committee member Diana Shores motioned to overrule Adams, but only four people voted in favor, so the motion and censure effort failed. NBC News, "Virginia GOP tries, fails to censure congressman for officiating same-sex wedding," 29 July 2019 The cuts to homeless services in Anchorage total more than $5 million, and a Brother Francis closure is just one piece of a slow-motion homeless crisis. Julia O'malley, Anchorage Daily News, "Anchorage Assembly votes to extend emergency declaration, fund Brother Francis Shelter," 27 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The man pulled up his shirt and motioned to his waistline at what Beltran assumed was a weapon. Los Angeles Times, "Two hours of terror in Orange County, with no easy answers," 9 Aug. 2019 If he can be motioned out of the backfield and win match-ups downfield, he will be targeted. Ryan O'halloran, The Denver Post, "Broncos Position Preview: Committee approach appears to be plan at running back," 11 July 2019 First, the Tigers' coach motioned for the media to gather around him as quickly as possible. Joseph Goodman, AL.com, "Bruce Pearl and Auburn are finally back in the NCAA Tournament but storm clouds linger," 14 Mar. 2018 When Bautista Agut's shot hit the net tape, popped in the air and slid over for a winner that tied their semifinal at a set apiece, Djokovic motioned to the roaring fans, sarcastically encouraging folks to get louder. Howard Fendrich, baltimoresun.com, "Eleven years after epic, Roger Federer tops Rafael Nadal in Wimbledon semis," 12 July 2019 When Bautista Agut’s shot hit the net tape, popped in the air and slid over for a winner that tied their semifinal at a set apiece, Djokovic motioned to the roaring fans, sarcastically encouraging folks to get louder. Howard Fendrich, BostonGlobe.com, "Roger Federer outlasts Rafael Nadal, advances to Wimbledon men’s final," 12 July 2019 The defense also motioned to suppress photographs of the scene from the trial, but that was not argued in court. Cody Boteler, baltimoresun.com, "Motion to suppress evidence in case that killed 5-year-old and her grandmother in Timonium is denied," 3 July 2019 When the ball went out for a U.S. throw-in, Rapinoe motioned for the ball girl to give her the ball for a quick restart. Kevin Baxter, latimes.com, "Women’s World Cup recap: U.S. beats France 2-1 on two Megan Rapinoe goals," 28 June 2019 In March, Guirao motioned that the organization be taken over by the Spanish government. Judy Cantor-navas, Billboard, "Spanish Rights Society SGAE Fails to Make Crucial Reforms to Statutes," 24 June 2019

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

Statistics for motion

Last Updated

12 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for motion

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for motion

motion

noun

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

More from Merriam-Webster on motion

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with motion

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for motion

Spanish Central: Translation of motion

Nglish: Translation of motion for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of motion for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about motion

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

to move or obtain by small maneuvers

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

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!