Motif meaning

mō-tēf
Frequency:
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.

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(music) A short rhythmic or melodic passage that is repeated or evoked in various parts of a composition.
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A repeated figure or design in architecture or decoration.
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A recurrent pattern either of molecular sequence, usually of nucleotides or amino acids in proteins, or of molecular structure that usually corresponds to specific biological activity.
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A main element, idea, feature, etc.
  • A main theme or subject to be elaborated on or developed, as in a piece of music or a book.
  • A repeated figure in a design.
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A recurrent pattern either of molecular sequence, usually of nucleotides or amino acids in proteins, or of molecular structure that usually corresponds to specific biological activity.
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The graphical user interface (GUI) endorsed by the Open Software Foundation. Motif became the standard graphical interface for Unix workstations. Although it is still used, numerous other graphical interfaces have become more popular (see KDE and GNOME). See Open Group.
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See how the artist repeats the scroll motif throughout the work?

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(music) A short melodic passage that is repeated in several parts of a work.
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A decorative figure that is repeated in a design.
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(crystallography) The physical object or objects repeated at each point of a lattice. Usually atoms or molecules.
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Origin of motif

  • French from Old French motive motive

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • From French motif (1848), with the meaning of main idea or theme

    From Wiktionary