In English, I understand the difference between those two words.

Motion is describing something moving continuously, while movement is more precise or detailed, as with a purpose and/or a direction. Sometimes, they can mean the same thing (Source).

In French, I was only able to find "mouvement" to translate "motion" and "movement". But "mouvement" in French doesn't really match the idea of "motion". My two online researches found nothing valuable to answer my question (Search 1 and Search 2).

Which is: how would we translate to French those two words, "movement" and "motion"?

NB: French being my native language, I may be misunderstanding English words.

  • 2
    Reading over the source, I can't say I see any consistent difference as a native English speaker. I can come up with counterexamples for the generalizations... But this could still be a good question if it's shifted slightly to "How do we cover various types of movement/motion using different words in French?" If anything, it seems like French is the one with names for different kinds, e.g. bouger vs. déplacer.
    – Luke Sawczak
    Commented Mar 29, 2018 at 10:08
  • so what you mean is: there's no proper general translation, they all depend on context? Should I edit the question to be more anwserable, or should I ask another question? Commented Mar 29, 2018 at 13:04

2 Answers 2


On doit pouvoir faire un choix parmi:

  • mouvement (!)
  • déplacement
  • cinématique
  • mécanique
  • dynamique

voir par exemple: http://www.cnrtl.fr/synonymie/mouvement


Pour les deux définitions, ce sera : Mouvement.

Mais c'est compliqué. Pour "Newton's laws of motion" On dira plutôt "les lois de la mécanique (de Newton)"

Au cas par cas, on dira "mouvement" ou autre chose.

Ce commentaire n'est pas du tout définitif !!!

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