mid-15c., "distant in place, apart, removed, not near," from Latin remotus "afar off, remote, distant in place," past participle of removere "move back or away, take away, put out of view, subtract," from re- "back, away" (see re-) + movere "to move" (from PIE root *meue- "to push away"). Related: Remotely; remoteness.
The meaning "distant" in any sense is from 1590s; by 1711 as "slight, inconsiderable" (of resemblances, chances, etc.). Remote control "fact of controlling from a distance" is recorded from 1904; as a device which allows this from 1920.
It forms all or part of: commotion; emotion; mob; mobile; moment; momentary; momentous; momentum; motif; motility; motion; motive; moto-; motor; move; movement; mutiny; premotion; promote; remote; remove.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit kama-muta "moved by love" and probably mivati "pushes, moves;" Greek ameusasthai "to surpass," amyno "push away;" Latin movere "move, set in motion;" Lithuanian mauti "push on."