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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.]
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]
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]
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|Noun||1.||motif - a design or figure that consists of recurring shapes or colors, as in architecture or decoration|
|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"
|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"