- The definition of a motif is a primary or recurring theme.
An example of a motif is a house decorated with the theme of horses.
motif definition by Webster's New World
- a main element, idea, feature, etc.; specif.,
- a main theme or subject to be elaborated on or developed, as in a piece of music, a book, etc.
- a repeated figure in a design
- motive (sense )
Origin: Fr: see motive
motif definition by American Heritage Dictionary
- a. A recurrent thematic element in an artistic or literary work.b. A dominant theme or central idea.
- Music A short rhythmic or melodic passage that is repeated or evoked in various parts of a composition.
- A repeated figure or design in architecture or decoration. See Synonyms at figure.
Origin: French, from Old French, motive; see motive.
motif - Computer Definition
motif - Cultural Definition
In literature, art, or music, a recurring set of words, shapes, colors, or notes. In the poem “The Raven,” by Edgar Allan Poe, for example, the word nevermore is a motif appearing at the end of each stanza. Likewise, the first four notes of the Fifth Symphony of Ludwig van Beethoven are a motif that is developed and reshaped throughout the work.