Main definitions of mosaic in US English:

: mosaic1Mosaic2



  • 1A picture or pattern produced by arranging together small colored pieces of hard material, such as stone, tile, or glass.

    ‘the walls and vaults are decorated by marble and mosaic’
    ‘the mosaic shows the baptism of Christ’
    as modifier ‘a mosaic floor’
    • ‘Down here is the swimming pool, which is 41 ft long and elegantly lined with mosaic tiles, reminiscent of the Roman style.’
    • ‘On his island retreat he finds a mosaic of the Tree of Life, the beautiful tree laden with fruit ignored by Adam and Eve in favour of the Tree of Knowledge.’
    • ‘Executed in a mixture of black and white marble, red, orange and brown terracotta and blue and green glass, the mosaics retain their voluptuous, dazzling intensity.’
    • ‘Like any mosaic it is a product of countless pieces.’
    • ‘For £25,000 upwards you can have a reinforced-concrete pool, lined with stone, tiles or mosaic, which should last 25 to 30 years.’
    • ‘A random pattern of glass mosaic tiles adds a splash of color to the bathroom between the girl's bedroom and the shared playroom.’
    • ‘After the war he returned to easel painting and was also active as a book and magazine illustrator and as a designer of mosaics and stained glass.’
    • ‘Containing preserved frescoes and opulent glass mosaics, this remarkable archaeological discovery provides a rare insight into the daily life and culture of the period.’
    • ‘One of the city's oldest pools, the Yeoville swimming pool, has received a sparkling, multi-toned blue mosaic facelift.’
    • ‘Glass mosaic tiles add a translucency and complexity that ceramic cannot match.’
    • ‘A stunning mosaic of the Last Supper, towering 80 ft over the altar, has also been cleaned and new lighting installed to bring the church back to life.’
    • ‘In the fine arts, the cartoon is a full-sized preliminary drawing for a work to be executed afterward in fresco, oil, mosaic, stained glass, or tapestry.’
    • ‘The themes of heraldry, religion, astronomy, astrology and the natural world are expressed in murals, mosaics, stained glass, intricate woodwork and stone and marble carvings.’
    • ‘Miniature mosaic icons, as suggested by preserved examples, were produced for a very limited time in Byzantium and were highly prized.’
    • ‘For floor mosaics, stone remained the dominant material.’
    • ‘No ancient medium is more difficult to present in the museum setting than floor mosaics.’
    • ‘These include paintings, drawings, pottery, sculptures, mosaics, wall hangings, wood carvings, glass works and leather pieces, felt art, jewellery and much more.’
    • ‘This sprawling citadel, looming high above the Andalusian city, boasts a dazzling array of mosaics, with tiles arranged in beautiful, intricate patterns, and is a testament to the beauty of mathematics.’
    • ‘In that year she traveled to Venice and commissioned the Salviati company to design the elaborate interior and exterior mosaic decoration for the church.’
    • ‘The amber mosaic panels between the long mirrors and gilding have been painstakingly reproduced and constructed by Russian craftsmen.’
    • ‘In the case of the miniature mosaic icons, these details allow the reader to scrutinize the production technique of this exacting art form.’
    1. 1.1 A colorful and variegated pattern.
      ‘the bird's plumage was a mosaic of slate-gray, blue, and brown’
      • ‘Even after flooding it looks lovely, a mosaic of meadows, traditionally managed fields and ancient woodland.’
      • ‘She stopped playing, wondering how much time she had left to practice, and her eyes were greeted by a mosaic of colors that blanketed the entire room.’
      • ‘In a contest for space, some of the anemones, sponges and barnacles sit on top of each other, creating a mosaic of contrasting colours.’
      • ‘The ground was a mosaic of colours, as if haphazardly thrown together by a careless artist.’
      • ‘The valley drops away below in a mosaic of yellow grass and green pastureland, and in the distance the sun glints off the Pacific Ocean.’
      • ‘The surrounding landscape is a mosaic of blue, white and pink soft corals, punctuated by arresting gorgonians, some exceeding 2m.’
    2. 1.2 A combination of diverse elements forming a more or less coherent whole.
      ‘an incompetently constructed mosaic of competing interests’
      • ‘His discursive poetry touches many factors, thus transforming a linear story into a mosaic of elements.’
      • ‘Anderson knows how to amuse us with a mosaic of background details and throwaway lines.’
      • ‘They called for voices that can speak for the diverse identities that make up the mosaic of humanity.’
      • ‘It is our hope that through deeper understanding, the diverse structural mosaic of Canadian society can be strengthened.’
      • ‘The mosaic of events making up Indonesia's history becomes a clear pattern on which Indonesia has been designed as a nation.’
      • ‘Their traditions are diverse and their contribution to the bright mosaic of Indian culture commendable.’
      • ‘Personal experiences recounted by interviewees and recorded in archival material help to build up a mosaic of life in Germany between 1929 and 1949.’
      • ‘The Indian rural market is a complex mosaic of mind-sets, cultures, and lifestyles.’
      • ‘Today's Europe is a rich mosaic of cultures, ethnicities, and religions.’
      • ‘The new album spans a wide selection of demographics and represents a mosaic of musical influences.’
      • ‘The Parisian suburbs are a mosaic of highly diverse socioprofessional and urban realities.’
      • ‘This is a poignant mosaic of testimonies performed by a very strong and versatile cast.’
      • ‘At the end, the audience was left with the feeling that unlike the usual run of shows which are a mosaic of music and dance, here was something which had a meaning and a message too.’
      • ‘Smith's profile of Muslims and Muslim communities reveals the rich mosaic of diverse ethnic groups of immigrants and converts.’
      • ‘We go further when we revitalize the bonds of the social connection by making kin of strangers, by embracing diversity that enriches the mosaic of our national unity.’
      • ‘The editors have constructed a diverse and complex mosaic of African American experiences.’
      • ‘Moore has no narrative, only a mosaic of loosely connected themes.’
      • ‘We are sensitive also to the values that ensure that our nation, a mosaic of diverse cultures and faiths, survives and thrives.’
      • ‘It forms a mosaic of various habitats from woodland and ponds, to herb-rich calcareous grassland, resulting in a rich bio-reservoir of flora and fauna.’
      • ‘But, their lives can change for the better if they come to India, which has a rich mosaic of culture and tradition.’
      • ‘The complex mosaic of traditions, religions, cultures, ethnicities and histories in the Arab world is lost to US and Israeli strategic planners.’
      • ‘He added that grazing of the area would be a better option than mowing because it would allow a mosaic of habitats - including wildflowers and grasses - to flourish.’
      mixture, blend, medley, melange, miscellany, mixed bag, pot-pourri, patchwork, mix, compound, composite, collection, motley collection, assortment, conglomeration, hotchpotch, hodgepodge, jumble, ragbag, mishmash, farrago, hash
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3 An arrangement of photosensitive elements in a television camera.
      • ‘Their camera used a light-sensitive mosaic that was discharged pixel by pixel as an electron beam scanned it, the discharge current intensity being proportional to the light falling on the dot.’
  • 2Biology
    An individual (especially an animal) composed of cells of two genetically different types.

    • ‘In some crosses as many as 12.5 % of the somatic mosaics showed such dark patches.’
    • ‘For example, some people are mosaics: Different cells in their body have different chromosomes.’
    • ‘In addition, any one individual is actually a mixture, or mosaic, of DNA, half from each parent.’
    • ‘Not even the almighty gene provided any clear answers, since it was discovered that I was a mosaic, with some cells in my body having the XY genotype and others having XO.’
  • 3A viral disease that results in leaf variegation in tobacco, corn, sugar cane, and other plants.

    • ‘Tobacco mosaic is a virus that mottles leaves, stunts plants, and reduces yields.’
    • ‘On the right is a micrograph of the virus that causes tobacco mosaic disease in tobacco plants.’
    • ‘Black raspberries also are very susceptible to mosaic virus.’
    • ‘Control - Because tomato mosaic is a virus, there is no chemical control for it.’
    • ‘It is resistant to mosaic and matures 57 days from seed.’
    • ‘However, its high susceptibility to sugar cane mosaic virus precludes its agronomical use.’
    • ‘But during the early years of the 20th century, root rot and mosaic virus nearly destroyed the crop and the industry it supported.’
    • ‘The origin of the streak mosaic virus infections isn't known, Agriculture Minister Warren Truss said last week.’
    • ‘Cauliflower mosaic virus is universally used as a ‘promoter’ which amplifies gene activity.’
    • ‘Wheat streak mosaic is the major disease in the southern Panhandle this year.’
    • ‘Some commercial plantings in New York become unproductive within three years because of mosaic virus while other plantings seem unaffected.’
    • ‘Some southern pea varieties are susceptible to mosaic viruses, powdery mildew, and leaf spot diseases.’
    • ‘One of the earliest diseases to occur in seedling wheat will be the soil-borne mosaic virus which is already visible in Oklahoma and Kansas.’
    • ‘In the field, it's hard to tell the difference between infection from soybean mosaic virus and bean pod mottle virus.’
    • ‘For this reason, producers who hold seed should definitely start out with new seed lots every three to four years or at least have the seed lot tested for Soybean mosaic virus.’
    • ‘And they found a link between one flavonoid and resistance to bean mosaic disease.’
    • ‘Soybean mosaic disease caused by SMV occurs worldwide wherever soybean is grown and is regarded as one of the most important soybean diseases in many areas of the world.’


[with object]
  • 1Decorate with a mosaic.

    ‘he mosaicked the walls, ceilings, and floors’
    • ‘Apart from an amusing shower scene, the action is remarkably stark in setting, confined mainly to the mosaicked floor of a palazzo whose crumbling foundations, strewn with old bones, reveal past grim deeds.’
    1. 1.1 Combine (distinct or disparate elements) to form a picture or pattern.
      ‘the digital data were combined, or mosaicked, to delineate counties’
      • ‘Once the images are ordered they were georeferenced, then mosaicked together.’
      • ‘To make a high-resolution image, we must mosaic many high-resolution images.’


Late Middle English: from French mosaïque, based on Latin musi(v)um ‘decoration with small square stones’, perhaps ultimately from Greek mousa ‘a muse’.




Main definitions of mosaic in US English:

: mosaic1Mosaic2



  • Of or associated with Moses.

    • ‘They believed that there was only one God and that only he should be worshipped by sacrifice or any other means - agreeing with the contents of the first table of the Mosaic commandments.’
    • ‘Burnet sought to reconcile a Cartesian-derived historical account of the origins of the Earth with the creation account of the Mosaic tradition.’
    • ‘They were seen as traitors because they no longer kept the Mosaic ceremonies or submitted to earthly priests.’
    • ‘The Sabbath was, I agree, a covenantal sign for the Mosaic covenant, and it certainly ceased as a 7th day covenant.’
    • ‘Conversely, there is the Mosaic prohibition against murder of any kind, coupled with the idea of the body and soul as God's property, and perception of suicide as motivated by despair.’
    • ‘In the Old Testament, it was part of the Mosaic code that an Israelite could not be indicted and convicted based upon the testimony of one person.’
    • ‘Then model your worship on the Mosaic tabernacle and priesthood.’
    • ‘It is certainly not my intention to suggest that the Mosaic plan could be used as an exact blueprint in a society that has moved past the pastoral or agricultural stage.’
    • ‘This might be a reason for the Mosaic laws against eating carnivores and shellfish.’
    • ‘Israel was seen as God's son in the Mosaic covenant.’
    • ‘King Solomon's alliances are seen here not as threats to the pristine Mosaic ethos but as props to the peace.’
    • ‘It pertains to the nature of the Mosaic covenant.’
    • ‘It is not peripheral but central to Mosaic religious experience and thought.’
    • ‘The answer, as was suggested earlier, resides in an understanding of two pivotal covenants in the Old Testament, the Abrahamic and Mosaic covenants.’
    • ‘No matter what generation reads these words, they are commanded to claim the Mosaic history as their own and not merely to recall what their ancestors experienced long ago.’
    • ‘Nevertheless, he argued strongly in defense of the Mosaic origin of this primary list of Ten Commandments.’
    • ‘Of a critical turn of mind, he let drop a hint that there might be some doubt as to the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch; the hint was picked up six centuries later by Spinoza and led to modern Bible criticism.’
    • ‘But the orienting theme throughout the Mosaic canon is life and its blessings, the affirmation of personhood.’
    • ‘I still don't understand the clinging to the Mosaic laws that Christianity still fights tooth and nail to do.’
    • ‘Israeli Jews will then have emancipated themselves at last, becoming citizens of Israel - of the Mosaic persuasion.’


Mid 17th century: from French mosaïque or modern Latin Mosaicus.