Definition of motto in English:

motto

noun

  • 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.”’
    • ‘I think America should adopt the motto of one of my heroes, General Vinegar Joe Stillwell.’
    • ‘According to Charlie Croft, one of the mottoes of the new partnership, which held its first meeting earlier this month, is: ‘Comfortable is not enough.’’
    • ‘This accounts for another of his framed mottos: ‘Plan it right and make it happen.’’
    • ‘Assuming that to be the case, all connected with the sport will hope the Baxter family motto proves accurate.’
    • ‘With mottos like ‘Another World is Possible’, people from every continent are finding ways to exchange experiences and ideas on how the state of the world can be improved.’
    • ‘I don't think many people beyond the soldiers serving in those regiments would be able to tell you their regimental mottoes, so they are not distinctively military in use.’
    • ‘His views did not win general support, even within the association, which, however, later adopted the phrase as a motto.’
    • ‘Mark and I have also developed many skills over the years so make do and mend is a bit of a family motto.’
    • ‘One of the camp mottoes is ‘conflict is inevitable, violence is not.’’
    • ‘That was the motto adopted for the celebrations of the century.’
    • ‘Most crest mottos consist of an inspiring phrase written in Latin.’
    • ‘Another of Mr Carless's mottos was ‘work hard, play hard’ - and his son remembers him doing plenty of both.’
    • ‘If they were ever to go in for mottos, though, theirs would probably be something like: ‘Think local, act global.’’
    • ‘I can see why Mr Cruickshank, in his speech, forwent those inspirational Latin mottos, per ardua ad astra, fides et robur etc. and decided, instead, to be controversial.’
    • ‘In a previous incarnation he was, for nine years, a finance company manager and learned all the mottos, moves and role-playing games.’
    • ‘‘Where Litter Lies Beauty Dies’ and ‘Together We Can Make It Happen’ are two common mottos adopted by Clonaslee Tidy Towns committee and they hope all locals will join in the campaign to beat litter.’
    • ‘One of her mottoes was, never lose your sense of humor.’
    • ‘But logic requires that he extend the idea of a motto beyond the schools and into other public institutions.’
    • ‘Above a door he spots a shield with the Montgomerie family motto - ‘Guard Yourself Well’.’
    • ‘Last week that phrase had become the defining motto and operating credo for the military and foreign policy of the Bush administration.’
    • ‘His family motto epitomises the Giffards' traditional love of hunting.’
    maxim, saying, proverb, aphorism, adage, saw, axiom, formula, expression, phrase, rule, dictum, precept, epigram, gnome
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Music A phrase that recurs throughout a musical work and has some symbolic significance.
      • ‘Elgar rarely states the motto in full, and yet its presence haunts the entire work.’

Origin

Late 16th century: from Italian, ‘word’.

Pronunciation

motto

/ˈmɑdoʊ//ˈmädō/