motif

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mo·tif

 (mō-tēf′)
n.
1.
a. A recurrent thematic element in an artistic or literary work.
b. A dominant theme or central idea.
2. Music A short rhythmic or melodic passage that is repeated or evoked in various parts of a composition.
3. A repeated figure or design in architecture or decoration. See Synonyms at figure.
4. A recurrent pattern either of molecular sequence, usually of nucleotides or amino acids in proteins, or of molecular structure that usually corresponds to specific biological activity.

[French, from Old French, motive; see motive.]

motif

(məʊˈtiːf)
n
1. (Music, other) a distinctive idea, esp a theme elaborated on in a piece of music, literature, etc
2. (Literary & Literary Critical Terms) a distinctive idea, esp a theme elaborated on in a piece of music, literature, etc
3. (Art Terms) Also: motive a recurring form or shape in a design or pattern
4. (Clothing & Fashion) a single added piece of decoration, such as a symbol or name on a jumper, sweatshirt, etc
[C19: from French. See motive]

mo•tif

(moʊˈtif)

n.
1. a recurring subject, theme, idea, etc., esp. in a literary, artistic, or musical work.
2. a distinctive and recurring form, shape, figure, etc., in a design.
[1840–50; < French; see motive]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.motif - a design or figure that consists of recurring shapes or colors, as in architecture or decorationmotif - a design or figure that consists of recurring shapes or colors, as in architecture or decoration
pattern, design, figure - a decorative or artistic work; "the coach had a design on the doors"
2.motif - a theme that is repeated or elaborated in a piece of music
melodic theme, musical theme, theme, idea - (music) melodic subject of a musical composition; "the theme is announced in the first measures"; "the accompanist picked up the idea and elaborated it"
obbligato, obligato - a persistent but subordinate motif
3.motif - a unifying idea that is a recurrent element in literary or artistic work; "it was the usual `boy gets girl' theme"
idea, thought - the content of cognition; the main thing you are thinking about; "it was not a good idea"; "the thought never entered my mind"
topos - a traditional theme or motif or literary convention; "James Joyce uses the topos of the Wandering Jew in his Ulysses"

motif

noun
1. design, form, shape, decoration, ornament wallpaper with a rose motif
2. theme, idea, subject, concept, leitmotif the motif of magical apples in fairytales

motif

noun
An element or a component in a decorative composition:
Translations

motif

[məʊˈtiːf] N (Art, Mus) → motivo m; [of speech etc] → tema m (Sew) → adorno m

motif

[məʊˈtiːf] nmotif m

motif

n (Art, Mus) → Motiv nt; (Sew) → Muster nt

motif

[məʊˈtiːf] nmotivo
References in classic literature ?
Always fishing for motives, when they're on the surface
No," said the Dog; "if I were to accept that, it might be thought that in biting you I was actuated by improper motives.
the sexes will be robbed of one of the first and most thrilling motives of romance, the motive of As You Like It, the romance of wearing each other's clothes.
There are four kinds of Tragedy, the Complex, depending entirely on Reversal of the Situation and Recognition; the Pathetic (where the motive is passion),--such as the tragedies on Ajax and Ixion; the Ethical (where the motives are ethical),--such as the Phthiotides and the Peleus.
I believe that the discovery of our own motives can only be made by the same process by which we discover other people's, namely, the process of observing our actions and inferring the desire which could prompt them.
It means that robbery was one of the motives for the crime.
Acting on this invitation, I told him the truth about my husband and myself quite unreservedly, taking care, however, at the same time, to put Eustace's motives in the best light that they would bear.
Or at least if this were otherwise, there were not wanting other motives much more influential with him.
As the sense of responsibility is always strongest, in proportion as it is undivided, it may be inferred that a single man would be most ready to attend to the force of those motives which might plead for a mitigation of the rigor of the law, and least apt to yield to considerations which were calculated to shelter a fit object of its vengeance.
From an attachment to her husband, which in itself does honour to both, she cannot forgive the endeavours at preventing their union, which have been attributed to selfishness in Lady Susan; but in this case, as well as in many others, the world has most grossly injured that lady, by supposing the worst where the motives of her conduct have been doubtful.
The motives of those who thronged from all sides to Moscow after it had been cleared of the enemy were most diverse and personal, and at first for the most part savage and brutal.
But the great security against a gradual concentration of the several powers in the same department, consists in giving to those who administer each department the necessary constitutional means and personal motives to resist encroachments of the others.