Definition of motto in English:


Syllabification: mot·to
Pronunciation: /ˈmädō

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'.

Definition of motto in: