get a move on

verb (used without object), moved, mov·ing.

  1. to pass from one place or position to another.
  2. to go from one place of residence to another: They moved from Tennessee to Texas.
  3. to advance or progress: The red racing car moved into the lead.
  4. to have a regular motion, as an implement or a machine; turn; revolve.
  5. to sell or be sold: That new model is moving well.
  6. to start off or leave: It’s time to be moving.
  7. to transfer a piece in a game, as chess or checkers.
  8. (of the bowels) to discharge or eject the feces; evacuate.
  9. to be active in a particular sphere: to move in musical society.
  10. to take action; proceed.
  11. to make a formal request, application, or proposal: to move for a new trial.

verb (used with object), moved, mov·ing.

  1. to change from one place or position to another.
  2. to set or keep in motion.
  3. to prompt, actuate, or impel to some action: What moved you to do this?
  4. to arouse or excite the feelings or passions of; affect with emotion (usually followed by to): to move someone to anger.
  5. to affect with tender or compassionate emotion; touch: The tale of tragedy moved her.
  6. to transfer (a piece in a game) from one position to another.
  7. to dispose of (goods) by sale.
  8. to cause (the bowels) to discharge or eject the feces.
  9. to propose formally, as to a court or judge, or for consideration by a deliberative assembly.
  10. to submit a formal request or proposal to (a court, a sovereign, etc.).


  1. an act or instance of moving; movement.
  2. a change of location or residence.
  3. an action toward an objective or goal; step: a move toward a higher tax.
  4. (in chess, checkers, etc.) a player’s right or turn to make a play.
  5. a play or maneuver, as in a game or sport.

Verb Phrases

  1. move in, to begin to occupy a place in which to live or work.
  2. move in on, Informal.
    1. to approach or make advances toward usurping another’s success, authority, position, or the like.
    2. to take aggressive steps to control or possess: The company has not yet moved in on the consumer market.
  3. move on,
    1. to leave or go away: I’ve been in this job ten years and it’s time to move on.
    2. to approach or attack as a military target: The army is moving on the capital itself.
    3. to progress or change: Those hats were popular once, but fashion has moved on.
    4. to move past an upsetting experience and go on with one’s life.
  4. move out, to leave a place in order to start or continue a planned march, maneuver, journey, etc.: The troops will move out of the encampment at dawn.
  5. move over, to change or cause to change to another position, especially to make room for another: to make space by moving over.
  6. move up, to advance to a higher level.
  1. get a move on, Informal.
    1. to begin; act: We’d better get a move on before it rains.
    2. to hurry; hasten.
  2. make one’s move, Informal. to act, especially to assert oneself at an opportune time.
  3. on the move,
    1. busy; active: on the move from morning till night.
    2. going from place to place: Infantry units have been on the move all day.
    3. advancing; progressing: an industry on the move.
  4. put moves on, Slang. to make sexual advances toward.Also make a move on.


  1. to go or take from one place to another; change in location or position
  2. (usually intr) to change (one’s dwelling, place of business, etc)
  3. to be or cause to be in motion; stir
  4. (intr) (of machines, etc) to work or operate
  5. (tr) to cause (to do something); prompt
  6. (intr) to begin to actmove soon or we’ll lose the order
  7. (intr) to associate oneself with a specified social circleto move in exalted spheres
  8. (intr) to make progress
  9. (tr) to arouse affection, pity, or compassion in; touch
  10. (in board games) to change the position of (a piece) or (of a piece) to change position
  11. (intr) (of merchandise) to be disposed of by being bought
  12. (when tr, often takes a clause as object; when intr, often foll by for) to suggest (a proposal) formally, as in debating or parliamentary procedure
  13. (intr; usually foll by on or along) to go away or to another place; leave
  14. to cause (the bowels) to evacuate or (of the bowels) to be evacuated
  15. (intr) informal to be exciting or activethe party started moving at twelve
  16. move heaven and earth to take every step possible (to achieve something)


  1. the act of moving; movement
  2. one of a sequence of actions, usually part of a plan; manoeuvre
  3. the act of moving one’s residence, place of business, etc
  4. (in board games)
    1. a player’s turn to move his piece or take other permitted action
    2. a permitted manoeuvre of a piece
  5. get a move on informal
    1. to get started
    2. to hurry up
  6. make a move (usually used with a negative) informal to take even the slightest actiondon’t make a move without phoning me
  7. make one’s move to commit oneself to a position or course of action
  8. on the move
    1. travelling from place to place
    2. advancing; succeeding
    3. very active; busy

late 13c., from Anglo-French mover, Old French movoir “to move, get moving, set out; set in motion; introduce” (Modern French mouvoir), from Latin movere “move, set in motion; remove; disturb” (past participle motus, frequentative motare), from PIE root *meue- “to push away” (cf. Sanskrit kama-muta “moved by love” and probably mivati “pushes, moves;” Lithuanian mauti “push on;” Greek ameusasthai “to surpass,” amyno “push away”).

Intransitive sense developed in Old French and came thence to English, though it now is rare in French. Meaning “to affect with emotion” is from c.1300; that of “to prompt or impel toward some action” is from late 14c. Sense of “to change one’s place of residence” is from 1707. Meaning “to propose (something) in an assembly, etc.,” is first attested mid-15c. Related: Moved; moving.


mid-15c., “proposal,” from move (v.). From 1650s in the gaming sense. Meaning “act of moving” is from 1827. Phrase on the move “in the process of going from one place to another” is from 1796; get a move on “hurry up” is Americal English colloquial from 1888 (also, and perhaps originally, get a move on you).

Also, get cracking or going or rolling. Hurry up; also, start working. For example, Get a move on, it’s late, or Let’s get cracking, kids, or It’s time we got going, or The alarm went off ten minutes ago, so get rolling. The first colloquial expression dates from the late 1800s. The second term, also colloquial, employs the verb to crack in the sense of “travel with speed,” a usage dating from the early 1800s, but the idiom dates only from the first half of the 1900s. The third term dates from the late 1800s and also has other meanings; see get going. Get rolling alludes to setting wheels in motion and dates from the first half of the 1900s. Also see get busy; get on the stick.

In addition to the idioms beginning with move

  • move a muscle
  • move heaven and earth
  • move in
  • move on
  • move up

also see:

  • get a move on
  • on the move

Also see undermover.

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