Definition of move in English:

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Pronunciation: /mo͞ov/


1 [no object] Go in a specified direction or manner; change position: she stood up and moved to the door he let his eyes move across the rows of faces
More example sentences
  • I could hear my brother moving around upstairs and I knew that he was getting ready for work.
  • She shoved her into the front row before moving to stand in the doorway of the gazebo.
  • She stood, and moved to the door, turning the lock with a echoing metallic sound.
go, walk, proceed, progress, advance;
budge, stir, shift, change position
1.1 [with object] Change the place or position of: she moved the tray to a side table
More example sentences
  • Officers said they could not move the car as it was not in a dangerous position, so they handed the matter over to the Borough Council.
  • Orchestral sections were moved from one position to another in a search for perfect sound relationships.
  • He said these traffic lights were badly positioned and should be moved to a more suitable place.
carry, transport, transfer, shift
1.2Change one’s place of residence or work: his family moved to London when he was a child
More example sentences
  • The family had only moved to the house on Whitworth Road four months ago.
  • His family had moved from a smaller house a few miles away right before he entered seventh grade.
  • Born in Essex to a colonel's family, she moved frequently during her childhood.
relocate, move away, change one's address, leave, go away, go down the road, decamp, pull up stakes
1.3(Of a player) change the position of a piece in a board game: White has forced his opponent to move [with object]: if Black moves his bishop, he loses a pawn
More example sentences
  • Once this is filled up players move their pieces creating larger and larger stacks.
  • When all pieces have been placed on the board, the players move the pieces around one intersection at a time.
  • Players move from space to space on a board in the shape of Madagascar which is coloured in the white, red and green of the national flag.
2Change or cause to change from one state, opinion, sphere, or activity to another: [no object]: the school moved over to the new course in 1987 [with object]: she deftly moved the conversation to safer territory
More example sentences
  • This quality threshold is likely to be raised as the organisation moves into the private sector.
  • It is a measure of how far to the right official opinion has moved.
  • We moved reluctantly toward the opinion that Labor was, at least arguably, the best option available.
change, budge, shift one's ground, change one's tune, change one's mind, have second thoughts;
make a U-turn, do an about-face
2.1 [with object] Influence or prompt (someone) to do something: his deep love of music moved him to take lessons with Dr. Hill
More example sentences
  • I am not moved to love you, Lord, to gain the heaven you have promised in return.
  • This is what draws him to us and moves him to love us.
  • It might be a rose, an animal, or a child that moves me to paint.
inspire, prompt, stimulate, motivate, provoke, influence, rouse, induce, incite
2.2 [no object] Take action: hard-liners may yet move against him, but their success might be limited
More example sentences
  • He could be ousted from the Tory leadership within days as MPs finally prepare to move against him.
  • The Labour Party has not taken any steps to move against its leader.
  • If you are found guilty of such an offence perhaps the government will move against you.
take action, act, take steps, do something, take measures
informal get moving
2.3 [with object] Provoke a strong feeling, especially of sorrow or sympathy, in: he was moved to tears by a get-well message from the president
More example sentences
  • Many of the crowd were moved to tears during the two-minute silence, while veterans lowered standards to the ground.
  • Her husband Jack was moved to tears as onlookers watched him unveil the plaque and lay her ashes to rest.
  • I am deeply moved by reading this story and my deepest sympathy goes out to the person who wrote it.
2.4 [with object] archaic Stir up (an emotion) in someone: he justly moves one’s derision
More example sentences
  • All the prejudices, all the exaggerations of both the great parties in the state, moved his scorn.
  • It raises the ill humour of mankind, excites the keener spirits, moves indignation in beholders and sows the very seeds of schism in men's bosoms.
  • That poor child moved my compassion deeply.
affect, touch, impress, shake, upset, disturb, make an impression on
3 [no object] Make progress; develop in a particular manner or direction: aircraft design had moved forward a long way legislators are anxious to get things moving as soon as possible
More example sentences
  • He wants a council analysis of traffic through his village before the massive new development moves forward.
  • If Blackburn is to move forward, quality development of this nature is required.
  • We have got a huge squad and the competition is rife, but you need that for the club to progress and move forward.
(make) progress, make headway, advance, develop
3.1 informal Depart; start off: let’s move—it’s time we started shopping
More example sentences
  • ‘Let's move,’ Chris whispered to me.
  • Okay... gotta move! See you all later!
  • He said that we'd better move if we were going to make it home by dark.
3.2 [in imperative] (move it) informal Used to urge or command someone to hurry up: come on—move it!
More example sentences
  • Move it, before I call the cops!
  • Move it! Get yourselves off the ground and get over to that barricade! Now!
  • Move it, Connie, I'm in a hurry.
3.3 informal Go quickly: Kenny was really moving when he made contact with a tire at the hairpin and flipped over
More example sentences
  • The wind was really moving at this point.
  • The ball was really moving when it reached him.
  • They might look blubbery and slow, but they can move when they have to.
3.4(With reference to merchandise) sell or be sold: [no object]: despite the high prices, goods are moving [with object]: She moves more pickups than her male counterparts.
More example sentences
  • These copies are moving fast and will be sold out in a matter of days.
  • I've seen some shell shocked illustrators at shows lately, completely unable to understand why their prints aren't moving in quantity.
4 [no object] (move in/within) Spend one’s time or be socially active in (a particular sphere) or among (a particular group of people): they moved in different circles of friends
More example sentences
  • He was a master at moving within and among very different worlds.
  • We moved within the same social circles and were members of the same clubs.
  • Democritus was an ancient Greek philosopher who moved in the same circles as Socrates.
circulate, mix, socialize, keep company, associate
informal hang out/around
5 [with object] Propose for discussion and resolution at a meeting or legislative assembly: she intends to move an amendment to the bill [with clause]: I beg to move that this House deplores the current economic policies
More example sentences
  • The Government also intends to move a number of technical amendments at the Committee stage.
  • The resolution was moved by the United States and supported unanimously by the Security Council.
  • Our union, in 1899, moved a resolution from the Doncaster branch, calling for the Labour Party to be set up.
propose, submit, suggest, advocate, recommend, urge
5.1Make a formal request or application to (a court or assembly) for something: his family moved the court for adequate “maintenance expenses” to run the household
More example sentences
  • Did you move the court to change its declaration, to bring its declaration into line with its reasons?
  • The family moved court for a copy of the will so that it could move court for its legality.
  • The latest ruling effectively means that his only remaining option in the matter is to move a civil court to seek damages.
6 [with object] Empty (one’s bowels).
Example sentences
  • Toddlers in nappies are accustomed to urinating and moving their bowels whenever they feel the urge to do so.
  • I hadn't eaten or moved my bowels for a week and a half, so I decided to go and see my GP.
  • At that time, she was eating a solid diabetic diet, moving her bowels, and ambulating.


1A change of place, position, or state: she made a sudden move toward me his eyes followed her every move the country’s move to independence a career move
More example sentences
  • Eventually the object made a sudden move, jerked across the highway and came to a stop.
  • They try hard not to make any sudden moves as they draw their weapons out.
  • James held the shotgun in a death grip, his finger on the trigger, ready to blow Steve away if he made any sudden moves.
movement, motion, action;
gesture, gesticulation
1.1A change of house or business premises.
Example sentences
  • Just as remarkable is the story of the manuscript's survival through the decades, including three years on the run from the Gestapo, several house moves and even a flood.
  • The service ranges from sourcing reliable cleaners, gardeners or plumbers to helping with house moves or booking a holiday.
  • I assumed it had gone missing during his various house moves and I just forgot about it.
relocation, change of address, transfer, posting
1.2An action that initiates or advances a process or plan: my next move is to talk to Matthew
More example sentences
  • If the holder of the office is very proactive and indeed imaginative he or she can initiate moves to further the cause of Sligo.
  • I was already initiating moves to get myself onto a site much closer to home, back in Liverpool.
  • Significant moves are planned to get more tourists into this country by air and sea.
initiative, step, action, act, measure, maneuver, tactic, stratagem
1.3A maneuver in a sport or game.
Example sentences
  • In probably the best move of the game, Moseley scored the important try.
  • Smith says much of his success throughout his career came from studying tapes of Rice and incorporating Rice's moves into his game.
  • He has incorporated more and more ridiculous moves into his game each year.
1.4A change of position of a piece in a board game: that move will put your king in check
1.5A player’s turn to make a change of position: it’s your move
More example sentences
  • Whose move is it?
  • It's your move now.
  • Is it my move next?
turn, go;
opportunity, chance



get a move on

[often in imperative] informal Hurry up.
Example sentences
  • ‘Hurry and eat quickly so we can get a move on,’ she said.
  • Some people will miss out on tens of thousands of pounds if they don't get a move on.
  • If necessary, this form can be submitted with your tax payment, but in any event, you need to get a move on.
hurry up, speed (it) up, move faster
informal get cracking, get moving, step on it, shake a leg, hop to it
dated make haste

get moving

[often in imperative] informal Make a prompt start (on a journey or an undertaking): you’re here to work, so get moving
More example sentences
  • They offered me a free drink but as I explained I was now in a hurry and needed to get moving.
  • ‘I'm looking forward to getting moving on this,’ Ford told the Sunday Herald last night.
  • Hopefully, if everybody gets moving, maybe by September there'll be some improvement.

make a move

Take action: each army was waiting for the other side to make a move
More example sentences
  • He said the council had to make a move on the issue.
British 3.1 Set off; leave somewhere: I think I’d better be making a move
More example sentences
  • Thanks for the party boys, but it's time to make a move.
  • I had to insist that it was time to make a move.
  • We had an 11-hour bus ride and I was in for a long week if I did not make a move.

make a move on (or put the moves on)

informal Make a proposition to (someone), especially of a sexual nature.
Example sentences
  • I started thinking about this guy, a waiter at a sushi bar, that I didn't make a move on, and thinking that night that I should have asked him out.
  • Vain, shallow Sally puts the moves on Patrick the moment he becomes single.
  • One night at a club I watched him put the moves on a gorgeous young woman who he had met earlier.

move the goalposts


move heaven and earth

see heaven.

move mountains


move with the times

Keep abreast of current thinking or developments.
Example sentences
  • In order to retain its vigour modern football must move with the times, keep in tune with what current fans want and consider strategies that will attract new fans.
  • Whatever sport or business you are in, it's important to keep moving with the times.
  • It is a juggling act trying to keep the long-term clientele happy by offering personal service and quality brands, while moving with the times and attracting new customers.

not move a muscle

see muscle.

on the move

In the process of moving from one place or job to another: it’s difficult to contact her because she’s always on the move
More example sentences
  • He had to be always on the move and travelling in India in those days was quite hazardous and time consuming.
  • The entire troupe is always on the move, travelling to nearly a dozen cities or towns every year.
  • People are always on the move now - family members take a year out and travel.
traveling, in transit, moving, journeying, on the road
informal on the go
10.1Making progress: the economy appeared to be on the move
More example sentences
  • After years of stagnation, the economy seems to be on the move, albeit very, very slowly.
  • So back to square one, how do we get this economy on the move?
  • I had a decent paying job with my own corner office. I was on the move upwards.
progressing, making progress, advancing, developing

Phrasal verbs


move along

[often in imperative] Change to a new position, especially to avoid causing an obstruction: “Move along, move along,” said the cop
More example sentences
  • Nothing more to see here. Move along, move along.
  • Move along, move along, we haven't got all day.
  • Out of my way, move along, move along!

move aside

see move over below.

move in

1Take possession of a new house or business premises.
Example sentences
  • Me and my man bought our house in April and moved in 7 weeks later.
  • Have you ever given much thought to the people who've lived in your house before you moved in and made it your own?
  • He hasn't been to the new house since we moved in back in June.
1.1 (move in with) Start to share accommodations with (an existing resident).
Example sentences
  • Other evicted residents have moved in with neighbours or with relatives.
  • I had no idea who I was moving in with until the start of shooting.
  • You are fortunate enough to have someone to move in with who loves you and can provide shelter.
2Intervene, especially so as to take control of a situation: this riot could have been avoided had the police moved in earlier
More example sentences
  • With smoke billowing from the vehicle, the police moved in.
  • The riot police moved in and struck quick, hard blows with their batons, mainly at people's calf areas.
  • Police and ambulances moved in and the hostage was quickly ushered away.

move in on

Approach, especially so as to take action: the police moved in on him
More example sentences
  • You can see police just moving in on the hostage-taker.
  • Last week police moved in on the tiger farm, ranked among the biggest in the world.
  • Riot police move in on the protesters.
4.1Become involved with so as to take control of or put pressure on: the bank did not usually move in on doubtful institutions until they were almost bankrupt
More example sentences
  • Cab drivers at Manchester Airport are threatening legal action after a rival firm moved in on Terminal 3 and bypassed local authority licence control by setting up like a bus company.
  • When David inevitably piles up a debt he can't pay, Tony moves in on his business, sucking it dry and draining his son's college fund.
  • The rebels then moved in on this boarding school for war orphans, kidnapping 51 boys and nine girls along with two adults.

move on (or move someone on)

Go or cause to leave somewhere, especially because one is causing an obstruction: the Mounties briskly ordered them to move on
More example sentences
  • The private landowner needs to obtain a court order to move them on from his or her land.
  • A short time later police again had to speak to the youths in the post office carpark where they were skating around parked cars and again they were moved on.
  • Some thought they were treated badly when they were moved on or told off for congregating in groups.
(move on)5.1 Progress: ballet has moved on, leaving Russia behind
More example sentences
  • Clients can expand or move on when it is right for their business to do so.
  • We must look to history and learn the lessons from the past for us to move on and grow as a community.
  • She agreed that he appeared to have moved on and to have improved at school since she had met him.

move out (or move someone out)

Leave or cause to leave one’s place of residence or work.
Example sentences
  • The idea of demolishing the flats was first suggested 10 years ago, but Maureen and her husband fought the proposals, until they were moved out in March this year.
  • It is believed she has been moved out while the investigation is carried out.
  • The police have moved them out but there is still lots of debris around and needs cleaning up.

move over (or aside)

Adjust one’s position to make room for someone else: Jo motioned to the girls on the couch to move over
More example sentences
  • ‘Come over here, sweetheart,’ he said moving over to make room for her.
  • I looked up at Eric's smiling face and moved over, making room for him on my bed.
  • There was a slight pause, then he glanced at her and moved over to make room.
7.1Relinquish a job or leading position, typically because of being superseded by someone or something more competent or important: it’s time for the film establishment to move aside and make way for a new generation
More example sentences
  • People very often don't get what they deserve and he will now either move aside or be pushed aside.
  • Bo Outlaw, who started at small forward last season, is moving over to make room for Grant Hill.
  • We will soon all be doctors; you better move over and make room for us.

move up

Adjust one’s position, either to be nearer or make room for someone else: there’d be room for me if you’d just move up a bit
More example sentences
  • I asked one man to move up a bit so I could pass by.
  • ‘Could you move up, do you think?’ I asked a big guy in builder's boots.
  • If someone takes the seat next to you, please move up a bit so they aren't hanging off the end.


Middle English: from Old French moveir, from Latin movere.

  • Latin movere ‘to move’ is the source of mobile and moment as well as of move. People have moved with the times since 1875, and were prepared to move heaven and earth to get what they wanted in the 1790s. In 1873 the English poet Arthur O'Shaughnessy wrote of creative artists, ‘Yet we are the movers and shakers / Of the world for ever, it seems.’ In the 1950s mover and shaker was borrowed for ‘a powerful person who initiates events and influences people’. See also mountain

Words that rhyme with move

approve, groove, improve, prove, you've

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: move

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