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 ?
I'm so fond of writing, I should go spinning on forever if motives of economy didn't stop me, for though I've used thin paper and written fine, I tremble to think of the stamps this long letter will need.
Add to this the violent opposition of her father and her sister Margaret to her marriage with a Catholic, and we need seek no further for the motives which led her to accept Monsieur Pontellier.
Urged by the different motives of filial affection, friendship and gratitude, Heyward and his companions rushed with one accord to the place, encircling the little canopy of dust which hung above the warriors.
Let these influencing powers actuate, by the permission or disposal of Providence, from selfish or social views, yet in time the mysterious will of Heaven is unfolded, and we behold our conduct, from whatsoever motives excited, operating to answer the important designs of heaven.
His motives and intentions, however are a mystery to me.
The original papers, together with the scarlet letter itself -- a most curious relic -- are still in my possession, and shall be freely exhibited to whomsoever, induced by the great interest of the narrative, may desire a sight of them I must not be understood affirming that, in the dressing up of the tale, and imagining the motives and modes of passion that influenced the characters who figure in it, I have invariably confined myself within the limits of the old Surveyor's half-a-dozen sheets of foolscap.
Though I cannot tell why it was exactly that those stage managers, the Fates, put me down for this shabby part of a whaling voyage, when others were set down for magnificent parts in high tragedies, and short and easy parts in genteel comedies, and jolly parts in farces --though I cannot tell why this was exactly; yet, now that I recall all the circumstances, I think I can see a little into the springs and motives which being cunningly presented to me under various disguises, induced me to set about performing the part I did, besides cajoling me into the delusion that it was a choice resulting from my own unbiased freewill and discriminating judgment.
Accessory, perhaps, to the impulse dictating the thing he was now about to do, were certain prudential motives, whose object might have been to revive the spirits of his crew by a stroke of his subtile skill, in a matter so wondrous as that of the inverted compasses.
This was a little spat between the twins; not much of a spat, but still a spat; and before they got far with it, they were in a decided condition of irritation while pretending to be actuated by more respectable motives.
Knightley did not make due allowance for the influence of a strong passion at war with all interested motives.
Some mothers might have encouraged the intimacy from motives of interest, for Edward Ferrars was the eldest son of a man who had died very rich; and some might have repressed it from motives of prudence, for, except a trifling sum, the whole of his fortune depended on the will of his mother.
You seem to doubt me; I don't doubt myself: I know what my aim is, what my motives are; and at this moment I pass a law, unalterable as that of the Medes and Persians, that both are right.