I’m translating an article about a wax-doll museum, and I got trapped on a phrase:

This wax doll has a mechanism, which simulates {insert: process of going on foot, walking — something like that}.

I know this is a rather strange construction, but is there a good, maybe a little bit scientific term for describing such an activity?

I was adviced with the word gait, but I don't think it suits. Does it describe only a manner of a human walking (or that of a dog, horse), or it can also be used to mean walking itself?


Merriam-Webster defines the word gait as “a manner of walking or moving on foot” and typically refers to specific characteristics of the way a person walks. If you use this word, you should use a modifier like Aaron K suggested.

Of course, which phrase you use depends upon your audience and the purpose of the writing, but I would keep it simple and simply use walk.

This wax doll has a mechanism which simulates walking.

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    I totally support that "...which simulates walking." would be best in almost every circumstance. I had included it and deleted it when I realized that it was already in the question. But sometimes the most obvious answers are best. Ambulation is almost cringe worthy and unless there is something truly remarkable about the simulation, I wouldn't say more than walking. – Aaron K Apr 17 '14 at 19:51
  • No, Merriam-Webster defines the word 'gate' as “an opening in a wall or fence” or “a city or castle entrance often with defensive structures”. -1 ! – James Waldby - jwpat7 May 15 '14 at 23:22
  • @jwpat7, Good catch. I my haste, I confused homophones. Gate and Gait are not the same word. – Andrew Neely May 16 '14 at 14:24

A more scientific word would be ambulation.

ambulation: the action of walking, moving about.

As in: "...has a mechanism which simulates ambulation."

If you want to use gait you need to say what kind of gait is simulated:

"which simulates a natural gait." or "which simulates a human gait."

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This wax doll has a walking mechanism.

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    Having a mechanism that simulates walking is not necessarily the same as having a walking mechanism. – Janus Bahs Jacquet May 16 '14 at 14:34
  • @JanusBahsJacquet Aren't all walking mechanisms in dolls mechanisms that simulate walking, as long as dolls, by definition don't walk as we humans do? – Elian May 16 '14 at 15:12

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