move·​ment | \ˈmüv-mənt \

Definition of movement 

1a(1) : the act or process of moving especially : change of place or position or posture studying the movement of planets

(2) : a particular instance or manner of moving was entranced by her graceful movements

b(1) : a tactical or strategic shifting of a military unit : maneuver

(2) : the advance of a military unit the steady movement of troops across the border

c : action, activity usually used in plural carefully watched the movements of the crowd

2a : tendency, trend detected a movement toward fairer pricing

b : a series of organized activities working toward an objective also : an organized effort to promote or attain an end the civil rights movement a movement to increase the minimum wage

3 : the moving parts of a mechanism that transmit a definite motion

4a : motion sense 7

b : the rhythmic character or quality of a musical composition a dance movement

c : a distinct structural unit or division having its own key, rhythmic structure, and themes and forming part of an extended musical composition The symphony consisted of three movements.

d : particular rhythmic flow of language : cadence a poem's movement

5a : the quality (as in a painting or sculpture) of representing or suggesting motion

b : the vibrant quality in literature that comes from elements that constantly hold a reader's interest (such as a quickly moving action-filled plot)

6a : an act of voiding (see void entry 3 sense 2a) the bowels

b : matter expelled from the bowels at one passage

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Synonyms & Antonyms for movement


motion, move, shift, shifting, stir, stirring



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Examples of movement in a Sentence

He developed an efficient system for movement of raw materials to the factory. studying the movements of the planets We wore loose clothes to allow for easier movement. the graceful movements of a dancer The police have been keeping a careful record of his movements. There's a movement afoot to rename the town. a book about the history of the civil rights movement They joined the antiwar movement.
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Recent Examples on the Web

At times, the movement was a bit busy, particularly when McNicol tried to highlight a solo or duet among the group. Ellen Dunkel,, "BalletX heats up the summer with 3 premieres and live music," 12 July 2018 The anti-plastic movement is also about protecting vulnerable humans, who, just like the disabled, rarely have a voice in political discussions. Emily Atkin, The New Republic, "Critics of Starbucks’ Straw Ban Are Missing the Point," 12 July 2018 Things weren’t much better for socialists in Europe, where a burgeoning women’s rights movement was also at odds with the push for economic equality. Olivia Campbell, Smithsonian, "The Historical Struggle to Rid Socialism of Sexism," 12 July 2018 Fischer said the movement is a natural outgrowth of the anger at the Trump administration’s border policies, which included separating thousands of children from their parents. Phillip M. Bailey, The Courier-Journal, "Abolish ICE movement pits practicality against passion for local Democrats," 10 July 2018 Sterling's movement was very good, though, causing Sweden's slow defense problems throughout. Steve Douglas, Houston Chronicle, "England defeats Sweden to reach World Cup semifinals," 8 July 2018 Sterling's movement was very good, though, causing Sweden's slow defense problems throughout. Steve Douglas, Fox News, "England reaches World Cup semifinals, beats Sweden 2-0," 7 July 2018 As states like Indiana emerge as leaders, experts say the movement is on the cusp of mainstream adoption – though much still stands in the way. Emily Hopkins,, "Your produce is less healthy than it was 70 years ago. These farmers might change that," 4 July 2018 The change to criminal code was so quickly that the women’s movement was not able to react., "What Will Happen If Abortion Is Banned In The U.S.? Just Look At These Countries.," 3 July 2018

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

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First Known Use of movement

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

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Dictionary Entries near movement

move it




move on

move one's ass

move out

Statistics for movement

Last Updated

28 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for movement

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

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More Definitions for movement



English Language Learners Definition of movement

: the act or process of moving people or things from one place or position to another

: the act of moving from one place or position to another

: the act of moving your body or a part of your body


move·​ment | \ˈmüv-mənt \

Kids Definition of movement

1 : the act or process of moving and especially changing place or position : an instance of moving the movement of the planets

2 : a program or series of acts working toward a desired end a reform movement

3 : a mechanical arrangement (as of wheels) for causing a particular motion (as in a clock or watch)

4 : a section of a longer piece of music a movement in a symphony

5 : an emptying of waste matter from the bowels


move·​ment | \ˈmüv-mənt \

Medical Definition of movement 

1 : the act or process of moving

2a : an act of voiding the bowels : bowel movement

b : matter expelled from the bowels at one passage : stool

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