Definition of motto in English:


Syllabification: mot·to
Pronunciation: /ˈmätō

noun (plural mottoes or mottos)

  • 1A short sentence or phrase chosen as encapsulating the beliefs or ideals guiding an individual, family, or institution: the school motto, “Serve and obey” he soon adopted the motto “work hard and play hard.”
    More example sentences
    • His family motto epitomises the Giffards' traditional love of hunting.
    • Mark and I have also developed many skills over the years so make do and mend is a bit of a family motto.
    • Above a door he spots a shield with the Montgomerie family motto - ‘Guard Yourself Well’.
    maxim, saying, proverb, aphorism, adage, saw, axiom, apophthegm, formula, expression, phrase, dictum, precept; slogan, catchphrase, mantra; truism, cliché, platitude
  • 1.1 Music A phrase that recurs throughout a musical work and has some symbolic significance.
    More example sentences
    • Elgar rarely states the motto in full, and yet its presence haunts the entire work.


late 16th century: from Italian, 'word'.

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Pronunciation: skəʊʃ
a small amount; a little