In biology, motility is the ability of organisms and fluid to move or get around. A microbiologist might test and compare the motility of various single-celled organisms.

An easy way to remember that motility means the ability to move without help is the mot- at the root of the word. It's the same root that's found in "motor," which is, of course, the engine that drives a car. If you've got good motility then your motor is working. After a car accident, an athlete's friends are understandably concerned about her motility. Motility is something you tend to take for granted — until you sprain an ankle.

Definitions of motility

n ability to move spontaneously and independently

lacking an ability to move
Type of:
the quality of moving freely

n a change of position that does not entail a change of location

“gastrointestinal motility
motion, move, movement
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(physiology) moving of a body part away from the central axis of the body
(physiology) moving of a body part toward the central axis of the body
the act of agitating something; causing it to move around (usually vigorously)
body English
a motion of the body by a player as if to make an object already propelled go in the desired direction
a circular movement of a limb or eye
the act of disturbing something or someone; setting something in motion
fetal movement, foetal movement
motion of a fetus within the uterus (usually detected by the 16th week of pregnancy)
dart, flit
a sudden quick movement
motion of hands or body to emphasize or help to express a thought or feeling
headshake, headshaking
the act of turning your head left and right to signify denial or disbelief or bemusement
inclination, inclining
the act of inclining; bending forward
eversion, everting, inversion
the act of turning inside out
inversion, upending
turning upside down; setting on end
jerk, jerking, jolt, saccade
an abrupt spasmodic movement
kick, kicking
a rhythmic thrusting movement of the legs as in swimming or calisthenics
kneel, kneeling
supporting yourself on your knees
lurch, pitch, pitching
abrupt up-and-down motion (as caused by a ship or other conveyance)
eye movement
the movement of the eyes
the act of opening something
the act of assuming a prostrate position
reach, reaching, stretch
the act of physically reaching or thrusting out
alternating back-and-forth movement
the act of assuming or maintaining a reclining position
the act of pulling or holding or drawing a part back
retroflection, retroflexion
the act of bending backward
rotary motion, rotation
the act of rotating as if on an axis
closing, shutting
the act of closing something
the act of assuming or maintaining a seated position
posing, sitting
(photography) the act of assuming a certain position (as for a photograph or portrait)
the act of snapping the fingers; movement of a finger from the tip to the base of the thumb on the same hand
squat, squatting
the act of assuming or maintaining a crouching position with the knees bent and the buttocks near the heels
a movement in an arc
an abrupt movement
quiver, quivering, vibration
the act of vibrating
a movement like that of a sudden occurrence or increase in a specified phenomenon
flicker, flutter, waver
the act of moving back and forth
the act of assuming or maintaining an erect upright position
span, straddle
the act of sitting or standing astride
a single complete movement
squirm, wiggle, wriggle
the act of wiggling
eurhythmics, eurhythmy, eurythmics, eurythmy
the interpretation in harmonious bodily movements of the rhythm of musical compositions; used to teach musical understanding
jab, jabbing, poke, poking, thrust, thrusting
a sharp hand gesture (resembling a blow)
ritual hand movement in Hindu religious dancing
a short abrupt inclination (as of the head)
the act of nodding the head
an inclination of the top half of the body forward and downward
involuntary movements of the eyeballs; its presence or absence is used to diagnose a variety of neurological and visual disorders
a rapid, jerky movement of the eyes between positions of rest
the act of turning or winding or folding around a central axis
feather, feathering
turning an oar parallel to the water between pulls
gyration, whirling
the act of rotating in a circle or spiral
the act of turning on (or as if on) a pivot
rotation of the hands and forearms so that the palms face downward
spin, twirl, twist, twisting, whirl
the act of rotating rapidly
flying downward in a helical path with a large radius
rotation of the hands and forearms so that the palms face upward
turn, twist
turning or twisting around (in place)
twist, wind, winding
the act of winding or twisting
the act of causing something to move up and down (or back and forth) with quick movements
agitating a liquid with an implement
shake, wag, waggle
causing to move repeatedly from side to side
the act of moving something by repeated tugs or pushes
careen, rock, sway, tilt
pitching dangerously to one side
overturn, turnover, upset
the act of upsetting something
shudder, tremor
an involuntary vibration (as if from illness or fear)
the act of reaching out
key stroke, keystroke
the stroke of a key; one depression of a key on a keyboard
(ballet) the outward rotation of a dancer's leg from the hip
a stroke or blow
a stroke with a curved piece of wood with taut horsehair strands that is used in playing stringed instruments
carnival, circus
a frenetic disorganized (and often comic) disturbance suggestive of a large public entertainment
disorganisation, disorganization
the disturbance of a systematic arrangement causing disorder and confusion
disruption, perturbation
the act of causing disorder
commotion, din, ruckus, ruction, rumpus, tumult
the act of making a noisy disturbance
furor, furore
a sudden outburst (as of protest)
havoc, mayhem
violent and needless disturbance
battle royal, melee, scrimmage
a noisy riotous fight
agitation, excitement, hullabaloo, turmoil, upheaval
disturbance usually in protest
outburst, tumultuous disturbance
a sudden violent disturbance
rampage, violent disorder
violently angry and destructive behavior
derangement, overthrow, upset
the act of disturbing the mind or body
swimming kick
a movement of the legs in swimming
a powerful stroke with the fist or a weapon
Type of:
the action of changing something

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