Definitions for motifmoʊˈtif

This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word motif

Random House Webster's College Dictionary


  1. a recurring subject, theme, idea, etc., esp. in a literary, artistic, or musical work.

  2. a distinctive and recurring form, shape, figure, etc., in a design.

Origin of motif:

1840–50; < F; see motive

Princeton's WordNet

  1. motif, motive(noun)

    a design or figure that consists of recurring shapes or colors, as in architecture or decoration

  2. motif, motive(noun)

    a theme that is repeated or elaborated in a piece of music

  3. theme, motif(noun)

    a unifying idea that is a recurrent element in literary or artistic work

    "it was the usual `boy gets girl' theme"


  1. motif(Noun)

    A recurring or dominant element; a theme.

    See how the artist repeats the scroll motif throughout the work?

  2. motif(Noun)

    A short melodic passage that is repeated in several parts of a work

  3. motif(Noun)

    A decorative figure that is repeated in a design

  4. motif(Noun)

    The physical object or objects repeated at each point of a lattice. Usually atoms or molecules.

  5. Origin: From French motif (1848), with the meaning of main idea or theme

Webster Dictionary

  1. Motif(noun)


British National Corpus

  1. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'motif' in Nouns Frequency: #2608

Translations for motif

Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary


a repeated decoration or design on material etc

The dress is nice but I don't like the pattern.

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