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poetry in motion

Something that is very elegant, graceful, and/or beautiful to observe, especially dance or the performing arts. The ballet was sublime to watch, truly poetry in motion.
See also: motion

the wheels are in motion

Things have begun developing, unfolding, or progressing. If you're going to act, you have to do it now, but once the wheels are in motion, there is no going back! Boss: "Jeff, what's the status of our new deployment strategy?" Jeff: "The wheels are in motion, we're just waiting for some final tests from the development team."
See also: motion, wheel

it's not the meat, it's the motion

It's not what you have, it's how you use it. The phrase is often used in a sexual way (as "meat" is a slang term for "penis"). Don't be discouraged—it's not the meat, it's the motion!
See also: motion, not

go through the motions

Fig. to make a feeble effort to do something; to do something insincerely or in cursory fashion. Jane isn't doing her best. She's just going through the motions. Bill was supposed to be raking the yard, but he was just going through the motions.
See also: motion, through

motion (for) someone to do something

to give someone a hand signal to do something. The minister motioned the organist to begin playing. I motioned Ken to raise the curtain so the play could begin. Sally motioned for the waiter to bring the check. I will motion to the usher and try to get him to come over here and help us.
See also: motion

motion someone aside

to give a hand signal to someone to move aside. (See also motion someone to one side.) He motioned her aside and had a word with her. I motioned aside the guard and asked him a question.
See also: aside, motion

motion someone away from someone or something

to give a hand signal to someone to move away from someone or something. She motioned me away from Susan. The police officer motioned the boys away from the wrecked car.
See also: away, motion

motion someone to one side

 and motion someone to the side
to give someone a hand signal to move to the side of something, such as the road. (Very similar to motion someone aside.) The cop motioned her to the side of the road. Claire motioned Fred to one side, where she spoke to him.
See also: motion, one, side

motion to someone

to make some sort of hand signal to a person. Did you motion to me? What do you want? I did not motion to you.
See also: motion

set something in motion

to start something moving. The mayor set the project in motion by digging the first shovelful of soil. I cannot set the procedure in motion until I receive a purchase order.
See also: motion, set

table a motion

to postpone the discussion of something during a meeting. Mary suggested that they should table the motion. The motion for a new policy was tabled until the next meeting.
See also: motion, table

set something in motion

also set in motion something
to start a process The recommendation could set in motion the largest cleanup in US history.
Usage notes: also used in the form put something in motion: Louisiana already has an emergency response plan, which Foster put in motion shortly after the attacks.
Etymology: based on the literal meaning of set something in motion (to make something move)
See also: motion, set

go through the motions

to do something without believing it is important After his wife died, he went through the motions of living, without feeling much of anything.
See also: motion, through

put/set something in motion

if you set something in motion, you start it happening The government have set in motion plans to reform the justice system.
See also: motion, put

go through the motions

to do something because you are expected to do it and not because you want to (often in continuous tenses) These days when we go out, cook a meal together or even make love, I get the feeling that he's just going through the motions.
See also: motion, through

set the wheels in motion

to cause a series of actions to start that will help you achieve what you want A phone call to the right person should set the wheels in motion.
See also: motion, set, wheel

go through the motions

Do something perfunctorily, or merely pretend to do it. For example, The team is so far behind that they're just going through the motions, or She didn't really grieve at his death; she just went through the motions. [c. 1800]
See also: motion, through

set in motion

Start something moving, give impetus to something, as in A press conference set the new project in motion. It is also put as set the wheels in motion, as in Let's set the wheels in motion for the new library wing. This idiom dates from about 1800. It was preceded by put in motion, which dates from the mid-1600s.
See also: motion, set

wheels in motion

see under set in motion.
See also: motion, wheel


n. gasoline; motor fuel. (Citizens band radio.) Let’s stop up ahead for some motion-lotion.

go through the motions

To do something in a mechanical manner indicative of a lack of interest or involvement.
See also: motion, through

set in motion

To give impetus to: The indictment set the judicial process in motion.
See also: motion, set
References in classic literature ?
He exchanged a few words with his men, motioned to me that I would ride behind one of them, and then mounted his own animal.
Then they pushed on again, nor did they halt a second time until in the heat of the day he stopped and motioned the girl to dismount.
At the entrance he held the flap aside and motioned her within.
Here Poole motioned him to stand on one side and listen; while he himself, setting down the candle and making a great and obvious call on his resolution, mounted the steps and knocked with a somewhat uncertain hand on the red baize of the cabinet door.
Dick she motioned sharply towards the door, and he could only obey her.
The old man motioned me in with his right hand with a courtly gesture, saying in excellent English, but with a strange intonation.
Apprehensive that they might fly from us altogether, I stopped short and motioned them to advance and receive the gift I extended towards them, but they would not; I then uttered a few words of their language with which I was acquainted, scarcely expected that they would understand me, but to show that we had not dropped from the clouds upon them.