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A written or oral application made to a court or judge to obtain a ruling or order directing that some act be done in favor of the applicant. The applicant is known as the moving party, or themovant.

In the U.S. judicial system, procedural rules require most motions to be made in writing and can require that written notice be given in advance of a motion being made. Written motions specify what action the movant is requesting and the reasons, or grounds, for the request. A written motion may contain citations to case law or statutes that support the motion. A motion almost always contains a recitation of the facts of the case or the situation prompting the movant to make the request.

For example, suppose that a plaintiff in a lawsuit has refused to submit to a deposition—questioning under oath—by the defendant. The defendant therefore files a motion with the court to compel in an effort to compel the plaintiff to attend the deposition. The written motion briefly explains the nature of the lawsuit, describes the efforts made by the defendant to get the plaintiff to submit to a deposition, addresses any known reasons for the plaintiff's failure to cooperate, and recites the statute that permits the taking of depositions in civil litigation. The motion may also request that the issue be addressed at a hearing before the judge with all parties present.

Once the judge receives the motion, he or she may grant or deny the motion based solely on its contents. In the alternative, the judge may schedule a hearing. At a motion hearing, each party has an opportunity to argue its position orally, and the judge can ask specific questions about the facts or the law. The judge's decision on the motion is called an order.

Under some circumstances motions can be made orally. Oral motions frequently occur during trials, when it is impractical to draft a written motion. A common oral motion occurs during witness testimony. Witnesses sometimes give inadmissible testimony before an attorney can object. When that happens, the attorney must object and move the court to strike the inadmissible testimony from the record. Motions for mistrial—made when courtroom proceedings are fraught with errors, inadmissible evidence, or disruptions so prejudicial to a party's case that justice cannot be served—often are made orally. Sometimes judges themselves take action on

behalf of a party, such as changing or adding necessary language to a pleading without a motion from a party. This is known as making an amendment on the court's own motion.

A motion to dismiss asks the court to dismiss an action because the initial pleading, or complaint, fails to state a cause of action or claim for which the law provides a remedy. For example, a complaint alleges that an employer unfairly fired an employee but does not allege illegal discrimination or labor practices. Merely firing an employee for unfair reasons is not illegal; thus a court may dismiss this complaint.

A motion to strike asks the court to remove from the record inadmissible evidence or language in pleadings that is redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous. A party can file a motion for a more definite statement when the language in a pleading is so vague or ambiguous that the party cannot reasonably be expected to draft a responsive pleading.

A motion for summary judgment, also known as a motion for judgment on the pleadings, asks the court to make a judgment solely on the facts set forth in the pleadings, without the necessity of trial. A court will grant a summary judgment motion when the material facts of the case are not in dispute and all that remains to be determined are questions of law. For example, in Stieber v. Journal Publishing Co., 120 N. M. 270, 901 P.2d 201 (App. 1995), the court found that the issue of whether a newspaper company's treatment of a reporter was extreme and outrageous was a legal question, not a factual question. In that case the reporter, Tamar Stieber, sued her employer for, among other things, intentional infliction of emotional distress. Stieber charged that the newspaper asked her to write so many daily stories that she could not perform her duties as a special projects reporter. To recover for the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress, the court noted, Stieber had to prove that the newspaper's conduct was so extreme and outrageous as to go "beyond all possible boundaries of decency, and to be regarded as atrocious, and utterly intolerable in civilized community." The court ruled that as a matter of law, Stieber failed to prove this allegation, and the lower court's summary judgment was affirmed.

A motion in limine, also made before trial, asks the court to prohibit an opposing party from offering evidence or referring to matters that would be highly prejudicial to the movant during a trial. A motion to suppress is similar to a motion in limine but asks the court to keep out of a criminal trial evidence that was obtained illegally, usually in violation of the Fourth, Fifth, or Sixth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. For example, a defendant in a murder trial may move the court to suppress her confession because she was questioned without being told of her right to have an attorney present.

Following a trial but before a jury verdict, a party may move for a directed verdict, asking the judge to make a judgment without letting the jury reach a verdict. Following a jury verdict, a party may move for judgment notwithstanding the verdict, or JNOV. This motion requests that the court enter a judgment contrary to the jury verdict, and is granted when no reasonable jury could have reached that verdict. A motion for a new trial asks the judge to order a new trial, setting aside the judgment or verdict, because the trial was improper or unfair. This motion is sometimes brought as the result of newly discovered evidence.

further readings

Dessem, R. Lawrence. 2001. Pretrial Litigation in a Nutshell. 3d ed. St. Paul, Minn.: West Group.


Civil Procedure; Criminal Procedure.

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motion, the change of position of one body with respect to another. The rate of change is the speed of the body. If the direction of motion is also given, then the velocity of the body is determined; velocity is a vector quantity, having both magnitude and direction, while speed is a scalar quantity, having only magnitude.

Types of Motion

Uniform motion is motion at a constant speed in a straight line. Uniform motion can be described by a few simple equations. The distance s covered by a body moving with velocity v during a time t is given by s=vt. If the velocity is changing, either in direction or magnitude, it is called accelerated motion (see acceleration). Uniformly accelerated motion is motion during which the acceleration remains constant. The average velocity during this time is one half the sum of the initial and final velocities. If a is the acceleration, vo the original velocity, and vf the final velocity, then the final velocity is given by vf=vo + at. The distance covered during this time is s=vot + 1/2at2. In the simplest circular motion the speed is constant but the direction of motion is changing continuously. The acceleration causing this change, known as centripetal acceleration because it is always directed toward the center of the circular path, is given by a=v2/r, where v is the speed and r is the radius of the circle.

The Laws of Motion and Relativity

The relationship between force and motion was expressed by Sir Isaac Newton in his three laws of motion: (1) a body at rest tends to remain at rest or a body in motion tends to remain in motion at a constant speed in a straight line unless acted on by an outside force, i.e., if the net unbalanced force is zero, then the acceleration is zero; (2) the acceleration a of a mass m by an unbalanced force F is directly proportional to the force and inversely proportional to the mass, or a = F/m; (3) for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. The third law implies that the total momentum of a system of bodies not acted on by an external force remains constant (see conservation laws, in physics). Newton's laws of motion, together with his law of gravitation, provide a satisfactory basis for the explanation of motion of everyday macroscopic objects under everyday conditions. However, when applied to extremely high speeds or extremely small objects, Newton's laws break down.

Motion at speeds approaching the speed of light must be described by the theory of relativity. The equations derived from the theory of relativity reduce to Newton's when the speed of the object being described is very small compared to that of light. When the motions of extremely small objects (atoms and elementary particles) are described, the wavelike properties of matter must be taken into account (see quantum theory). The theory of relativity also resolves the question of absolute motion. When one speaks of an object as being in motion, such motion is usually in reference to another object which is considered at rest. Although a person sitting in a car is at rest with respect to the car, both in motion with respect to the earth, and the earth is in motion with respect to the sun and the center of the galaxy. All these motions are relative.

It was once thought that there existed a light-carrying medium, known as the luminiferous ether, which was in a state of absolute rest. Any object in motion with respect to this hypothetical frame of reference would be in absolute motion. The theory of relativity showed, however, that no such medium was necessary and that all motion could be treated as relative.


See J. C. Maxwell, Matter and Motion (1877, repr. 1952).

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282. Motion

See also 399. TRAVEL .

the tendency of some plants to grow in a direction away from the sun.
the tendency of some plants to grow away from the earth and the pull of gravity. apogeotropic , adj.
bradykinesia, bradykinesis
slowness of movement. bradykinetic , adj.
the property of some plants and animals of moving toward or away from certain chemicals.
growth or motion in response to a chemical stimulus. chemotropic , adj.
the capacity or tendency of some plants to adopt a position transverse to the line of force of an external stimulus. diatropic , adj.
growth or movement of an organism in response to an electric current. galvanotropic , adj.
the movement of an organism in response to the force of gravity.
the study of the motion of bodies considered independently of external forces. Also called phoronomy . kinematic , adj.
a mania for movement.
the branch of physics that studies the motion of masses in relation to the forces acting on them.
an abnormal fear or dislike of motion. Also called dromophobia .
movement of bodies, organisms, etc., in response to the stimulus of light. photokinetic , adj.
phototaxis, phototaxy
the movement of an organism away from or toward a source of light. phototactic , adj.
motion in a particular direction under the stimulus of light, as exhibited by certain plants, organisms, etc. phototropic , adj.
the tendency of certain living things to move in response to the mechanical stimulus of a current of water.
orientation or movement of an organism in response to the stimulus of a solid object. Cf. stereotropism. stereotactic , adj.
growth or movement determined by contact with a solid. Also called thigmotropism . Cf. stereotaxis. stereotropic , adj.
an abnormal fear of speed.
stereotropism. thigmotropic , adj.
Rare. the science of rotary motion. trochilic , adj.
the movement of cells in relation to food or nutritive matter. trophotropic, adj.
the tendency of a plant, animal, or part to move or turn in response to an external stimulus, as sunlight or temperature. tropistic , adj.

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mo·tion / ˈmōshən/ • n. 1. the action or process of moving or being moved: the laws of planetary motion a cushioned shoe that doesn't restrict motion. ∎  a gesture: she made a motion with her free hand. ∎  a piece of moving mechanism. 2. a formal proposal put to a legislature or committee: the head of our commission made a motion that we rewrite the constitution. ∎  Law an application for a rule or order of court. 3. Mus. the movement of a melodic line between successive pitches: they rely heavily on repeated chord tones and much less often on conjunct melodic motion. • v. [tr.] direct or command (someone) with a movement of the hand or head: he motioned Dennis to a plush chair | [tr.] he motioned the young officer to sit down | [intr.] he motioned for a time out. PHRASES: go through the motions do something perfunctorily, without any enthusiasm or commitment. ∎  simulate an action: a child goes through the motions of washing up. in motion moving: flowing blonde hair that was constantly in motion. set something in motion start something moving or working. ∎  start or trigger a process or series of events: plunging oil prices set in motion an economic collapse. DERIVATIVES: mo·tion·al / -shənl/ adj. mo·tion·less adj. mo·tion·less·ly adv.

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"motion." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . 14 Dec. 2017 <>.

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1. Term which denotes the course upwards or downwards of a melody or melodies. In the combination of any 2 ‘voices’ or ‘parts’ of a comp., if they proceed in the same direction (notationally considered), they are said to be in similar motion, if in opposite directions, in contrary motion. If one part holds (or repeats) a note and the other part moves up or down from it, that is oblique motion. Similar Motion in which the parts proceed by the same intervals (numerically considered) is parallel motion.

2. In the shaping of a single part progress of one note to an adjacent note by step is called conjunct motion and progress to some other note by leap disjunct motion.

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motion action or process of moving XV; formal proposition XVI. — (O)F. — L. mōtiō, -ōn-, f. mō- of movēre (mōtum) MOVE; see -TION.
Hence motion vb. † propose, move XVI; make a gesture XVIII. motive † motion, proposition XIV; that which moves a person to act XV; motif XIX. ME. motyf, -yve — (O)F. motif, sb. use of adj. — late L. mōtīvus, whence motive adj. XVI. So motivate XIX.

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"motion." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . 14 Dec. 2017 <>.

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motions (moh-shŏnz) pl. n. the products of bowel evacuation.

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"motions." A Dictionary of Nursing. . 14 Dec. 2017 <>.

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motionashen, fashion, passion, ration •abstraction, action, attraction, benefaction, compaction, contraction, counteraction, diffraction, enaction, exaction, extraction, faction, fraction, interaction, liquefaction, malefaction, petrifaction, proaction, protraction, putrefaction, redaction, retroaction, satisfaction, stupefaction, subtraction, traction, transaction, tumefaction, vitrifaction •expansion, mansion, scansion, stanchion •sanction •caption, contraption •harshen, Martian •cession, discretion, freshen, session •abjection, affection, circumspection, collection, complexion, confection, connection, convection, correction, defection, deflection, dejection, detection, direction, ejection, election, erection, genuflection, imperfection, infection, inflection, injection, inspection, insurrection, interconnection, interjection, intersection, introspection, lection, misdirection, objection, perfection, predilection, projection, protection, refection, reflection, rejection, resurrection, retrospection, section, selection, subjection, transection, vivisection •exemption, pre-emption, redemption •abstention, apprehension, ascension, attention, circumvention, comprehension, condescension, contention, contravention, convention, declension, detention, dimension, dissension, extension, gentian, hypertension, hypotension, intention, intervention, invention, mention, misapprehension, obtention, pension, prehension, prevention, recension, retention, subvention, supervention, suspension, tension •conception, contraception, deception, exception, inception, interception, misconception, perception, reception •Übermenschen • subsection •ablation, aeration, agnation, Alsatian, Amerasian, Asian, aviation, cetacean, citation, conation, creation, Croatian, crustacean, curation, Dalmatian, delation, dilation, donation, duration, elation, fixation, Galatian, gyration, Haitian, halation, Horatian, ideation, illation, lavation, legation, libation, location, lunation, mutation, natation, nation, negation, notation, nutation, oblation, oration, ovation, potation, relation, rogation, rotation, Sarmatian, sedation, Serbo-Croatian, station, taxation, Thracian, vacation, vexation, vocation, zonation •accretion, Capetian, completion, concretion, deletion, depletion, Diocletian, excretion, Grecian, Helvetian, repletion, Rhodesian, secretion, suppletion, Tahitian, venetian •academician, addition, aesthetician (US esthetician), ambition, audition, beautician, clinician, coition, cosmetician, diagnostician, dialectician, dietitian, Domitian, edition, electrician, emission, fission, fruition, Hermitian, ignition, linguistician, logician, magician, mathematician, Mauritian, mechanician, metaphysician, mission, monition, mortician, munition, musician, obstetrician, omission, optician, paediatrician (US pediatrician), patrician, petition, Phoenician, physician, politician, position, rhetorician, sedition, statistician, suspicion, tactician, technician, theoretician, Titian, tuition, volition •addiction, affliction, benediction, constriction, conviction, crucifixion, depiction, dereliction, diction, eviction, fiction, friction, infliction, interdiction, jurisdiction, malediction, restriction, transfixion, valediction •distinction, extinction, intinction •ascription, circumscription, conscription, decryption, description, Egyptian, encryption, inscription, misdescription, prescription, subscription, superscription, transcription •proscription •concoction, decoction •adoption, option •abortion, apportion, caution, contortion, distortion, extortion, portion, proportion, retortion, torsion •auction •absorption, sorption •commotion, devotion, emotion, groschen, Laotian, locomotion, lotion, motion, notion, Nova Scotian, ocean, potion, promotion •ablution, absolution, allocution, attribution, circumlocution, circumvolution, Confucian, constitution, contribution, convolution, counter-revolution, destitution, dilution, diminution, distribution, electrocution, elocution, evolution, execution, institution, interlocution, irresolution, Lilliputian, locution, perlocution, persecution, pollution, prosecution, prostitution, restitution, retribution, Rosicrucian, solution, substitution, volution •cushion • resumption • München •pincushion •Belorussian, Prussian, Russian •abduction, conduction, construction, deduction, destruction, eduction, effluxion, induction, instruction, introduction, misconstruction, obstruction, production, reduction, ruction, seduction, suction, underproduction •avulsion, compulsion, convulsion, emulsion, expulsion, impulsion, propulsion, repulsion, revulsion •assumption, consumption, gumption, presumption •luncheon, scuncheon, truncheon •compunction, conjunction, dysfunction, expunction, function, junction, malfunction, multifunction, unction •abruption, corruption, disruption, eruption, interruption •T-junction • liposuction •animadversion, aspersion, assertion, aversion, Cistercian, coercion, conversion, desertion, disconcertion, dispersion, diversion, emersion, excursion, exertion, extroversion, immersion, incursion, insertion, interspersion, introversion, Persian, perversion, submersion, subversion, tertian, version •excerption

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