set in motion


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Related to set in motion: put into 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

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

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

set in motion

To give impetus to: The indictment set the judicial process in motion.
See also: motion, set
References in classic literature ?
In the third place, even in the clearest cases of acquired habit, such as speaking, some instinct is required to set in motion the process of learning.
He had taken childish delight in the music, and smiled, too, at the figures which it set in motion.
And when one observes that this mode of expression is not only the most conservative, but also the most simple, the most convenient, the most practicable for all; when one reflects that it does not drag after it bulky baggage, and does not set in motion a heavy apparatus; when one compares thought forced, in order to transform itself into an edifice, to put in motion four or five other arts and tons of gold, a whole mountain of stones, a whole forest of timber-work, a whole nation of workmen; when one compares it to the thought which becomes a book, and for which a little paper, a little ink, and a pen suffice,--how can one be surprised that human intelligence should have quitted architecture for printing?
Whereas the king having died and left no heir, it becomes my duty to continue the executive authority vested in me, until a government shall have been created and set in motion.
It set in motion a train of thought--an express train bound for the Land of Yesterday.
Mingott when the burden of flesh descended on her, and in the adjoining one she spent her days, enthroned in a large armchair between the open door and window, and perpetually waving a palm-leaf fan which the prodigious projection of her bosom kept so far from the rest of her person that the air it set in motion stirred only the fringe of the anti-macassars on the chair-arms.