Share this entry
perpetuum mobile Syllabification: per·pet·u·um mo·bi·le
Pronunciation: /pərˌpeCHəwəm ˈmōbəlē/

Definition of perpetuum mobile in English:


1 Music A piece of fast-moving instrumental music consisting mainly of notes of equal length.
Example sentences
  • Other 20th-century composers, for instance Honegger, Martin, and Prokofiev, wrote toccatas in perpetuum mobile style, following the example of Schumann.
  • Op. 54 is in two movements, minuet and a kind of perpetuum mobile, often referred to as a toccata: its form and style can't be found elsewhere in Beethoven.
2 another term for perpetual motion.
Example sentences
  • His preoccupations caricature Fedor's preoccupation with infinity by reducing what is for Fedor a kind of otherworldly transcendence to the pragmatism of a perpetuum mobile.
  • Tito's perpetuum mobile kept rotating during the stagnant 1970s.
  • We are amused by purported perpetuum mobile devices.


Latin, literally 'continuously moving (thing)', on the pattern of primum mobile.

Definition of perpetuum mobile in:
Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources