What Do Lawyers Mean When They Talk About “Motions?”

I have a lawsuit pending and my lawyer says that the other side has filed something called a "motion."  What is a motion?
 
A motion is a request by a party to the lawsuit to have the court rule on some issue.   A motion is a way of getting the court to resolve an issue between the parties to the lawsuit that they cannot work out between themselves.
 
For instance, under the law interrogatories (written questions one side of a lawsuit can sent to the other side of the case to learn information) must be answered in thirty days.  If interrogatories are sent but are not responded to within thirty days, a motion can be filed.  The motion asked the court to compel an answer to the interrogatories.
 

Motions can also used to ask the court to set a case for trial, to dismiss a case, and for a host of other reasons.