Other forms: motions; motioned; motioning

Motion is the way things get from place to place. The ball rolling down a hill is in motion, and as Isaac Newton once proved, it will remain in motion until it hits a wall or something else that makes it stop.

When motion is used as a noun, it describes movement, like the motion that propels a car from one end of the highway to another. When used as a verb, motion means to signal or direct. "A restaurant patron will motion to the server when he's ready for the check." Someone who is just "going through the motions" doesn't have to move at all, because they're just pretending.

Definitions of motion
  1. noun
    the act of changing location from one place to another
    “police controlled the motion of the crowd”
    synonyms: move, movement
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    approach, approaching, coming
    the act of drawing spatially closer to something
    advance, advancement, forward motion, onward motion, procession, progress, progression
    the act of moving forward (as toward a goal)
    locomotion, travel
    self-propelled movement
    lunge, lurch
    the act of moving forward suddenly
    travel, traveling, travelling
    the act of going from one place to another
    chase, following, pursual, pursuit
    the act of pursuing in an effort to overtake or capture
    ascending, ascension, ascent, rise
    the act of changing location in an upward direction
    the act of changing your location in a downward direction
    swing, swinging, vacillation
    changing location by moving back and forth
    the act of going back to a prior location
    coast, glide, slide
    the act of moving smoothly along a surface while remaining in contact with it
    failing to hold or slipping out of place
    flow, stream
    the act of flowing or streaming; continuous progression
    a very slow movement
    hurrying, speed, speeding
    changing location rapidly
    displacement, translation
    the act of uniform movement
    shift, shifting
    the act of moving from one place to another
    haste, hurry, rush, rushing
    the act of moving hurriedly and in a careless manner
    maneuver, manoeuvre, play
    a deliberate coordinated movement requiring dexterity and skill
    the movement of persons from one country or locality to another
    emigration, expatriation, out-migration
    migration from a place (especially migration from your native country in order to settle in another)
    immigration, in-migration
    migration into a place (especially migration to a country of which you are not a native in order to settle there)
    the act of approaching or entering
    closing, closure
    approaching a particular destination; a coming closer; a narrowing of a gap
    landing approach
    the approach to a landing field by an airplane
    an effort to advance
    career, life history
    the general progression of your working or professional life
    a steady advance
    clear sailing, easy going, plain sailing
    easy unobstructed progress
    swinging by the arms from branch to branch
    walk, walking
    the act of traveling by foot
    the act of walking somewhere
    the act of changing location by raising the foot and setting it down
    a horse's manner of moving
    run, running
    the act of running; traveling on foot at a fast pace
    jog, lope, trot
    a slow pace of running
    crawl, crawling, creep, creeping
    a slow mode of locomotion on hands and knees or dragging the body
    circle, circuit, lap
    movement once around a course
    traveling around something (by ship or plane)
    traveling or wandering around
    traversal, traverse
    travel across
    roving, vagabondage, wandering
    travelling about without any clear destination
    traveling (especially on foot)
    traveling across
    the act of controlling and steering the movement of a vehicle or animal
    horseback riding, riding
    travel by being carried on horseback
    air, air travel, aviation
    travel via aircraft
    jump, parachuting
    descent with a parachute
    journey, journeying
    the act of traveling from one place to another
    leg, stage
    a section or portion of a journey or course
    travel by stagecoach
    on the road, on tour
    travelling about
    taking an excursion for pleasure
    seafaring, water travel
    travel by water
    commutation, commuting
    the travel of a commuter
    tracking, trailing
    the pursuit (of a person or animal) by following tracks or marks they left behind
    shadowing, tailing
    the act of following someone secretly
    stalk, stalking
    the act of following prey stealthily
    the act of raising (a body) from the ground by presumably spiritualistic means
    heave, heaving
    the act of lifting something with great effort
    climb, mount
    the act of climbing something
    soar, zoom
    the act of rising upward into the air
    dive, nose dive, nosedive
    a steep nose-down descent by an aircraft
    abseil, rappel
    (mountaineering) a descent of a vertical cliff or wall made by using a doubled rope that is fixed to a higher point and wrapped around the body
    a swift descent through the air
    crash dive
    a rapid descent by a submarine
    the act of dropping something
    collapse, flop
    the act of throwing yourself down
    the act of entering again
    the act of sending an accused person back into custody to await trial (or the continuation of the trial)
    sideslip, skid, slip
    an unexpected slide
    the act of sliding down a snow-covered slope while standing on a snowboard
    release, spill, spillage
    the act of allowing a fluid to escape
    flood, outpouring, overflow
    a large flow
    acceleration, quickening, speedup
    the act of accelerating; increasing the speed
    the act of decelerating; decreasing the speed
    scud, scudding
    the act of moving along swiftly (as before a gale)
    the approach run during which an athlete gathers speed
    advancing as if in the child's game, by leaping over obstacles or competitors
    dance step, step
    a sequence of foot movements that make up a particular dance
    bolt, dash
    the act of moving with great haste
    scamper, scramble, scurry
    the act of rushing about hastily in an undignified way
    the act of taking the ball or puck away from the team on the offense (as by the interception of a pass)
    a predetermined set of movements in dancing or skating
    completion, pass completion
    (American football) a successful forward pass in football
    ball hawking
    a skillful maneuver in catching balls or in stealing the ball from the opposing team
    (sports) the act of enabling another player to make a good play
    icing, icing the puck
    (ice hockey) the act of shooting the puck from within your own defensive area the length of the rink beyond the opponent's goal
    the performance of a juggler
    getting in someone's way
    baseball play
    (baseball) a play executed by a baseball team
    the manner of using the feet
    shot, stroke
    (sports) the act of swinging or striking at a ball with a club or racket or bat or cue or hand
    any one of the repeated movements of the limbs and body used for locomotion in swimming or rowing
    blitz, linebacker blitzing, safety blitz
    (American football) defensive players try to break through the offensive line
    mousetrap, trap play
    (American football) a play in which a defensive player is allowed to cross the line of scrimmage and then blocked off as the runner goes through the place the lineman vacated
    gold rush
    a large migration of people to a newly discovered gold field
    type of:
    the action of changing something
  2. noun
    a change of position that does not entail a change of location
    “the reflex motion of his eyebrows revealed his surprise”
    synonyms: motility, 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
    (baseball) the series of motions made by a pitcher prior to releasing a pitch
    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
    blow, buffet
    a powerful stroke with the fist or a weapon
    type of:
    the action of changing something
  3. noun
    the use of movements (especially of the hands) to communicate familiar or prearranged signals
    synonyms: gesture
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    a gesture that is part of a sign language
    a deliberate and vigorous gesture or motion
    a beckoning gesture
    facial expression, facial gesture
    a gesture executed with the facial muscles
    a showy gesture
    previous question
    a motion calling for an immediate vote on the main question under discussion by a deliberative assembly
    a gesture involving the shoulders
    wafture, wave, waving
    the act of signaling by a movement of the hand
    V sign
    a sign (for victory); making a V with the index and middle fingers
    a sign of assent or salutation or command
    bow, bowing, obeisance
    the act of bending the head, body, or knee as a sign of reverence or submission or shame or greeting
    sign of the cross
    a gesture with the right hand moving to form a cross; used by Catholics as a profession of faith
    curtsey, curtsy
    bending the knees; a gesture of respect made by women
    a representation of a facial expression (as a smile or frown) created by typing a sequence of characters in sending email
    an expression of openmouthed astonishment
    face, grimace
    a contorted facial expression
    frown, scowl
    a facial expression of dislike or displeasure
    grin, grinning, smile, smiling
    a facial expression characterized by turning up the corners of the mouth; usually shows pleasure or amusement
    a facial expression characteristic of a person laughing
    an angry vicious expression
    straight face
    a serious facial expression giving no evidence of interest or amusement
    closing one eye quickly as a signal
    the facial expression of sudden pain
    brandish, flourish
    the act of waving
    genuflection, genuflexion
    the act of bending the knees in worship or reverence
    kotow, kowtow
    a former Chinese custom of touching the ground with the forehead as a sign of respect or submission
    scrape, scraping
    a deep bow with the foot drawn backwards (indicating excessive humility)
    a deep bow; a Muslim form of salutation
    type of:
    visual communication
    communication that relies on vision
  4. noun
    a natural event that involves a change in the position or location of something
    synonyms: movement
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    crustal movement, tectonic movement
    movement resulting from or causing deformation of the earth's crust
    approach, approaching
    the event of one object coming closer to another
    passage, passing
    the motion of one object relative to another
    deflection, deflexion
    the movement of the pointer or pen of a measuring instrument from its zero position
    bend, bending
    movement that causes the formation of a curve
    change of location, travel
    a movement through space that changes the location of something
    undulation, wave
    (physics) a movement up and down or back and forth
    a small irregular movement
    periodic motion, periodic movement
    motion that recurs over and over and the period of time required for each recurrence remains the same
    (geology) a horizontal dislocation
    backlash, rebound, recoil, repercussion
    a movement back from an impact
    kick, recoil
    the backward jerk of a gun when it is fired
    the movement of a read/write head to a specific data track on a disk
    squeeze, wring
    a twisting squeeze
    cam stroke, stroke, throw
    the maximum movement available to a pivoted or reciprocating piece by a cam
    turn, turning
    a movement in a new direction
    twist, wrench
    a jerky pulling movement
    wavelike motion; a gentle rising and falling in the manner of waves
    moving ridge, wave
    one of a series of ridges that moves across the surface of a liquid (especially across a large body of water)
    an unsteady rocking motion
    commotion, whirl, whirlwind
    confused movement
    Brownian motion, Brownian movement, pedesis
    the random motion of small particles suspended in a gas or liquid
    (astronomy) the rising of a star above the horizon
    free movement or passage (as of cytoplasm within a cell or sap through a plant)
    a slow longitudinal movement or deformation
    breaker, breakers, surf
    waves breaking on the shore
    backwash, wake
    the wave that spreads behind a boat as it moves forward
    the movement or sound of water
    riffle, ripple, rippling, wavelet
    a small wave on the surface of a liquid
    gravitation wave, gravity wave
    (physics) a wave that is hypothesized to propagate gravity and to travel at the speed of light
    sine wave
    a wave whose waveform resembles a sine curve
    oscillation, vibration
    (physics) a regular periodic variation in value about a mean
    a wave motion
    a wave on the surface of a lake or landlocked bay; caused by atmospheric or seismic disturbances
    standing wave, stationary wave
    a wave (as a sound wave in a chamber or an electromagnetic wave in a transmission line) in which the ratio of its instantaneous amplitude at one point to that at any other point does not vary with time
    traveling wave, travelling wave
    a wave in which the medium moves in the direction of propagation of the wave
    acoustic wave, sound wave
    (acoustics) a wave that transmits sound
    wave form, wave shape, waveform
    the shape of a wave illustrated graphically by plotting the values of the period quantity against time
    blast wave, shock wave
    a region of high pressure travelling through a gas at a high velocity
    crestless wave, swell
    the undulating movement of the surface of the open sea
    lift, rise
    a wave that lifts the surface of the water or ground
    billow, surge
    a large sea wave
    tidal wave
    a wave resulting from the periodic flow of the tides that is caused by the gravitational attraction of the moon and sun
    tidal wave
    an unusual (and often destructive) rise of water along the seashore caused by a storm or a combination of wind and high tide
    a cataclysm resulting from a destructive sea wave caused by an earthquake or volcanic eruption
    roll, roller, rolling wave
    a long heavy sea wave as it advances towards the shore
    harmonic motion
    a periodic motion in which the displacement is either symmetrical about a point or is the sum of such motions
    bounce, bouncing
    rebounding from an impact (or series of impacts)
    resilience, resiliency
    an occurrence of rebounding or springing back
    the stroke of an engine piston moving away from the crankshaft
    the stroke of an engine piston moving toward the crankshaft
    a long curling sea wave
    white horse, whitecap
    a wave that is blown by the wind so its crest is broken and appears white
    movement downward resulting from gravitational attraction
    movement upward by virtue of lightness
    a movement downward
    an abnormal wobble in a motor vehicle (especially in the front wheels)
    entering, entrance
    a movement into or inward
    a movement downward
    flow, flowing
    the motion characteristic of fluids (liquids or gases)
    carom, ricochet
    a glancing rebound
    deflection, deflexion, refraction
    the amount by which a propagating wave is bent
    reversal, turn around
    turning in an opposite direction or position
    swerve, yaw
    an erratic deflection from an intended course
    impulse, pulsation, pulse, pulsing
    (electronics) a sharp transient wave in the normal electrical state (or a series of such transients)
    flap, flapping, flutter, fluttering
    the motion made by flapping up and down
    gyration, revolution, rotation
    a single complete turn (axial or orbital)
    advance, progress, progression
    a movement forward
    ascension, ascent, rise, rising
    a movement upward
    spread, spreading
    process or result of distributing or extending over a wide expanse of space
    a wild headlong rush of frightened animals (horses or cattle)
    a uniform movement without rotation
    coming back, return
    the occurrence of a change in direction back in the opposite direction
    a rolling or revolving motion
    type of:
    happening, natural event, occurrence, occurrent
    an event that happens
  5. noun
    a formal proposal for action made to a deliberative assembly for discussion and vote
    “he made a motion to adjourn”
    synonyms: question
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    type of:
    something proposed (such as a plan or assumption)
  6. noun
    a request to a court for a ruling or order
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    type of:
    petition, postulation, request
    a formal message requesting something that is submitted to an authority
  7. noun
    a state of change
    “they were in a state of steady motion
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    lifelessness, motionlessness, stillness
    a state of no motion or movement
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    palpitation, quiver, quivering, shakiness, shaking, trembling, vibration
    a shaky motion
    perpetual motion
    motion that continues indefinitely without any external source of energy; impossible in practice because of friction
    the motion of a spinning body (as a top) in which it wobbles so that the axis of rotation sweeps out a cone
    flow, stream
    something that resembles a flowing stream in moving continuously
    (music) a tremulous effect produced by rapid repetition of a single tone or rapid alternation of two tones
    shaking or trembling (usually resulting from weakness or stress or disease)
    type of:
    the way something is with respect to its main attributes
  8. noun
    an optical illusion of motion produced by viewing a rapid succession of still pictures of a moving object
    synonyms: apparent motion, apparent movement, movement
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    type of:
    optical illusion
    an optical phenomenon that results in a false or deceptive visual impression
  9. verb
    show, express or direct through movement
    synonyms: gesticulate, gesture
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    signal by winking
    exsert, extend, hold out, put out, stretch forth, stretch out
    thrust or extend out
    raise one's shoulders to indicate indifference or resignation
    clap, spat
    clap one's hands together
    acclaim, applaud, clap, spat
    clap one's hands or shout after performances to indicate approval
    bless, sign
    make the sign of the cross over someone in order to call on God for protection; consecrate
    express or signify by nodding
    cross oneself
    make the sign of the cross; in the Catholic religion
    bow, bow down
    bend one's knee or body, or lower one's head
    shake (a body part) to communicate a greeting, feeling, or cognitive state
    beckon, wave
    signal with the hands or nod
    extend a joint beyond its normal range
    applaud with shouts of `bravo' or `brava'
    conge, congee
    perform a ceremonious bow
    type of:
    communicate, intercommunicate
    transmit thoughts or feelings




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