to go through the motions

Idiom Definition

Idiom Definition - go through the motions

"to go through the motions"

to do something perfunctorily without interest, involvement or sympathy;

to make a feeble effort to do something


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - go through the motions

Two colleagues are talking ...

Colleague 1:  Looks like I was selected to produce this quarter's profit results presentation.

Colleague 2:  Alright then. Just another boring presentation. Copy and paste last quarter's format and fill in this quarter's information.

Colleague 1:  No. I don't think I will just go through the motions this time. The numbers are really good this quarter so I think I will invest some time and energy and make a really interesting and engaging presentation.

Colleague 2:  I'll look forward to seeing it.

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - go through the motions

Two friends are talking ...

Friend 1:  Poor Abigail. To lose a husband so young must be devastating but she looks like she is holding up well.

Friend 2:  I think she is just going through the motions of this funeral. I don't think she even realizes where she is or what she is doing.  Earlier, we weren't even sure if she was going to be able to stop crying long enough to attend this funeral.

Friend 1:  I suppose that at times like this just shambling through on autopilot is the best coping strategy.

to go through the motions - Usage:


Usage Frequency Index:   1,641   click for frequency by country

to go through the motions - Gerund Form:

Going through the motions, she was too stunned to really react.

to go through the motions - Examples:

1)  Thomas didn't just go through the motions. Once he was out there, he looked every bit like the All-Star player we've gotten used to seeing.

2)  ... can ever truly be content in this marriage. She doesn't want her husband to just go through the motions.

3)  The right process is to not go through the motions of an RFP, but actually fairly evaluate the submitted proposals and select the research ...

4)  As Jews, we must not just go through the motions, but the emotions, which should lead us to cause a commotion when government goes wrong ...

5)  I thought they were just going to go through the motions but they've approved it and that's delightful. It's going to help so many people.

6)  We go through the motions of life but we are not really living.

7)  ... said she's waiting to see if city officials truly embrace the new approach “and not just go through the motions.”

8)  It's not going to be a go-through-the-motions game. They're going out there with everything they have.

9)  I go through the motions of my ordinary routine, but my mind is on my mother. I'm out of sorts when my husband gets home, ...

10)  As individuals “go through the motions” of prescribed routines at work and at home they spend their days in a mental-state akin to autopilot.

11)  The Borussia Dortmund's players went through the motions against Monaco but you could clearly see they were not fully focussed.

12)  We just kind of went through the motions. We knew we were better than [Vian] and we came out a little flat. 

13)  As he went through the motions of his last day, McClincy said he was trying hard not to think about it.

14)  Although her words were drowned out, Kirkpatrick went through the motions of reading her talk. 

15)  As I went through the motions of my life at the time, I enjoyed it, but never was content or fulfilled. 

16)  On Girls, friendship itself could seem like a performative gesture, like people were going through the motions of friend-ness. 

17)  It was kind of in the bag from the beginning, where the zoning hearing board was just going through the motions of hearing the testimony and ...

18)  Slow to react, slow to move, half-hearted in attack, and going through the motions in transition with precious little invention or intent. 

19)  ... are caring about them and you are providing quality customer service that is personal to their needs and not just going through the motions.

20)  He was actually more full of life than so many people who live in this world who live their days numb, going through the motions.