What does motif mean?

Definitions for motifmoʊˈtif

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word motif.

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(n.)

    In literature and the fine arts, a salient feature or element of a composition or work; esp., the theme, or central or dominant feature; specif. (Music), a motive. See also leitmotif.

  2. Motif(n.)

    (Dressmaking) A decorative appliqu

  3. Origin: [F.]


  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)


  2. Origin: [F.]

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Motif

    mō-tēf′, n. an old form of motive: a theme or ground for intellectual action, or a leading subject in a dramatic work: in a musical composition the principal subject on which the movement is constructed. [Fr.,—L. motus, moved.]

Suggested Resources

  1. motif

    Song lyrics by motif -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by motif on the Lyrics.com website.

British National Corpus

  1. Nouns Frequency

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


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of motif in Chaldean Numerology is: 6

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of motif in Pythagorean Numerology is: 9

Sample Sentences & Example Usage

  1. Norbert Kaethler:

    The souvenir plays on Marx's criticism of capitalism and of course the 0-euro note fits perfectly with Marx as a motif.

  2. Neil Meron:

    It really is celebratory about movies and yet it's kind of cheeky in a way, but yet it has a beautiful musical motif which... we integrate throughout the show as kind of a call-back theme.

Images & Illustrations of motif

  1. motifmotifmotif

Translations for motif

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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"motif." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2018. Web. 23 Apr. 2018. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/motif>.

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