• WordNet 3.6
    • n motif a design or figure that consists of recurring shapes or colors, as in architecture or decoration
    • n motif a unifying idea that is a recurrent element in literary or artistic work "it was the usual `boy gets girl' theme"
    • n motif a theme that is repeated or elaborated in a piece of music
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Motif (Dressmaking) A decorative appliqué design or figure, as of lace or velvet, used in trimming; also, a repeated design.
    • Motif (Music) In literature and the fine arts, a salient feature or element of a composition or work; esp., the theme, or central or dominant feature;
    • n Motif Motive.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n motif A Middle English form of motive.
    • n motif [F.] A datum, theme, or ground for intellectual action: used as French.
    • n motif [F.] In music:
    • n motif A figure.
    • n motif A subject or theme, particularly one that recurs often in a dramatic work as a leading subject.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Motif mō-tēf′ an old form of motive: a theme or ground for intellectual action, or a leading subject in a dramatic work: in a musical composition the principal subject on which the movement is constructed.
    • ***


  • Stephane Mallarme
    Stephane Mallarme
    “The poetic act consists of suddenly seeing that an idea splits up into a number of equal motifs and of grouping them; they rhyme.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Fr.,—L. motus, moved.


In literature:

The social motif is exceedingly strong throughout Jewish history and literature.
"The Menorah Journal, Volume 1, 1915" by Various
The Winter motive may be again divided into a chill and icy motif and a rushing wind-motif.
"Contemporary American Composers" by Rupert Hughes
Pinzon avoit vu dans la soiree passer des perroquets, et il savoit que ces oiseaux n'alloient pas sans motif du cote du sud.
"The Conquest of Canada (Vol. 1 of 2)" by George Warburton
She would sit perfectly still and listen; she was frightened when he went to the piano to try a motif.
"The Goose Man" by Jacob Wassermann
A second version contains only an elaboration of this last motif.
"A Syllabus of Kentucky Folk-Songs" by Hubert G. Shearin
The decorative motifs that characterized European tools of the 17th and 18th centuries obscured technical improvement.
"Woodworking Tools 1600-1900" by Peter C. Welsh
She had in her voice a thick, mucous note, which became to Eleanor the motif in that symphony of misery.
"The Readjustment" by Will Irwin
Do you know Hunding's motif in "Die Walkuere"?
"Melomaniacs" by James Huneker
His "Leaves" do not show a great range of artistic motifs.
"Whitman" by John Burroughs
Almost any motif may be used for the unit.
"Primary Handwork" by Ella Victoria Dobbs

In news:

Prada presents new 2013 summer motif : the flower.
K&J Show – Active Motif Coming to Saranac Lake.
Bella Frames Brandishes Wheat Motif At NYIGF.
Yard sale salt box carries German folk motif .
A screenshot of some of the "motifs" -- stock offerings bundled by a common theme -- offered by Motif Investing.
AirJetDesigns created this computer rendering of a custom cabin with an Asian motif for a large business jet.
Click through for more motifs to try this spring.
As the author of nearly 40 plays and films, Mr Shanley puts his primary focus on words, and even those he occasionally uses in a design motif.
T he theme of nature runs through the Décor of the study, whose decorative motifs reflect the home's wooded surroundings.
Screening by the Millions for the Best Druggable RNA Motifs.
Last month, for example, Sasha Frere-Jones wrote an essay in The New Yorker noting that indie rock is now almost completely white, lacking even the motifs of African-American popular music.
Here is a sophisticated take on the theme, incorporating ocean creature motifs in silver mixed with clean white.
Saranac Lake will officially welcome its newest corporate citizen and biotech company, Active Motif, at 6 pm, December 4 th, with a reception and ribbon-cutting event which will be held at its 21 Main Street location.
The problem of locating motifs in real-valued, multivariate time series data involves the discovery of sets of recurring patterns embedded in the time series.
Precious antique or affordable new accessory, the decorative motif adds sparkle to any space.

In science:

We have shown that the distribution of motifs in random hierarchical networks defined by nonsymmetric random block–hierarchical adjacency matrices coincides with the distribution of motifs in the second superfamily in the classification of U.
On the motifs distribution in random hierarchical networks
Mikhailov for paying our attention to motifs distribution and to M.
On the motifs distribution in random hierarchical networks
To facilitate understanding of the moments in the table, their corresponding induced motifs are shown in Figure 1.
Parameter identifiability in a class of random graph mixture models
Ivorra. R´ealisation ℓ-adique des motifs triangul´es g´eom´etriques I.
Mixed Artin-Tate motives with finite coefficients
Chain motifs: The tails and handles of complex networks.
How Many Nodes are Effectively Accessed in Complex Networks?