Meaning of MOTION in English


I. ˈmōshən noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English mocioun, from Middle French motion, from Latin motion-, motio movement, from motus (past participle of movēre to move) + -ion-, -io -ion — more at move


a. obsolete : prompting, suggestion

give ear to his motions — Shakespeare

b. : a formal proposal made in a deliberative assembly

a motion of censure

a motion to adjourn

the motion has been seconded

the motions to discharge and to table may be filed at the same time — Don Irwin

c. : an application made to a court or judge orally in open court or in written form to obtain an order, ruling, or direction in favor of the applicant usually to advance the case toward trial or hearing, obtain some interlocutory advantage, or relieve from some injustice but sometimes to obtain for the applicant a final decree or judgment on some matter of law after a hearing or trial on pleadings or after evidence is taken

on motion of the defendant's lawyer

motion to quash the indictment

the motion for a new trial was denied — Max & Edna A. Lerner

2. : an irregular stirring, shaking, or oscillating movement : agitation

the motion of the water

the swaying motion of the train

there was no motion in the heavy sultry atmosphere — W.H.Hudson †1922


a. : the action or process of a body passing from one place or position to another

the motion of the planets

a pendulum in motion

b. : such action or process conceived in terms of one of its characteristics (as direction, course, velocity)

linear motion

angular motion

rotational motion

the earth, according to the Copernican scheme … has three motions — G.C.Sellery

learned in the valuing of motion … I saw that we were now running thirteen miles an hour — Thomas DeQuincey

c. obsolete : a constant moving from place to place

my perpetual motions … between Wotton and London — John Evelyn

d. : a process of change — used chiefly in philosophy

four kinds of motion : substantial (origin and decay); quantitative (change in the size of a body by addition and subtraction); qualitative (transformation of one thing into another); and local (change of place) — Frank Thilly

4. : an impulse or inclination of the mind, will, or desires : movement 2a(1)

between the acting of a dreadful thing and the first motion — Shakespeare

those obscure motions of the mind — J.C.Powys

the fundamental motions of humanity to good or evil — T.S.Eliot

studied navigation of his own motion — Times Literary Supplement


a. : an act or instance of moving the body or any of its members : gesture

every motion in the old dances had meaning — Reginald & Gladys Laubin

every … motion of her head — H.M.Reichard

signaled with a motion of his arm

a sucking motion

b. : style of moving : carriage 2b

personal habits, such as vocalization … motion , and address — William James

c. obsolete : power of moving

devoid of sense and motion — John Milton

d. : a conventionalized bodily movement (as a step, gait, athletic movement)

the standard motions of a show horse

e. obsolete : bodily exercise

when in your motion you are hot and dry — Shakespeare

f. archaic : activity — usually used in plural

taking advantage of the night to conceal his motions — George Stanhope

g. : the change or prospective change (as of attitude or position) suggested by the posture of an artistic figure

the expressive motion of the statue

6. obsolete

a. : puppet show

a motion of the Prodigal Son — Shakespeare

b. : puppet

did you think you had married a motion — Ben Jonson


a. : an evacuation of the bowels

has no control over … urine or motions — Farmer's Weekly (South Africa)

b. : the matter evacuated — often used in the plural

blood in the motions — Lancet


a. : the wheelwork of a watch : movement 3

b. : mechanism

a straight-line motion

link motion

loosen lower motion … and turn — Civil Engineering


a. : melodic change of pitch in the successive musical tones of a voice part

note repetitions and scalewise motion quite foreign to characteristic twelve-tone practice — Arthur Berger

b. : melodic progression of two or more voice parts relatively considered

transition is by way of a passage in contrary motion for the woodwinds — A.K.Holland

II. verb

( motioned ; motioned ; motioning -sh(ə)niŋ ; motions )

transitive verb

1. archaic : propose , recommend

what I motioned was of God — John Milton

2. : to direct by a motion (as of the hand or head)

motioned them to come quietly — Jean Stafford

motioned me to a seat — L.C.Douglas

intransitive verb

1. archaic : to propose or suggest a plan or action

well hast thou motion ' d — John Milton

2. archaic : to move in such a way as to suggest an intended action

this he declined, motioning at the same time to go away — Helena Wells

3. : to signal by a movement or gesture (as of the hand)

the pitcher motioned to the catcher

4. : to vibrate in angular rotation — used of a watch balance

a mainspring should … make the watch motion properly — Watchmakers' Handbook

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.