[ mot-oh ]
See synonyms for motto on
noun,plural mot·toes, mot·tos.
  1. a maxim adopted as an expression of the guiding principle of a person, organization, city, etc.

  2. a sentence, phrase, or word expressing the spirit or purpose of a person, organization, city, etc., and often inscribed on a badge, banner, etc.

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Origin of motto

1580–90; <Italian <Late Latin muttum sound, utterance. See mot

Words Nearby motto Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use motto in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for motto


/ (ˈmɒtəʊ) /

nounplural -toes or -tos
  1. a short saying expressing the guiding maxim or ideal of a family, organization, etc, esp when part of a coat of arms

  2. a short explanatory phrase inscribed on or attached to something

  1. a verse or maxim contained in a paper cracker

  2. a quotation prefacing a book or chapter of a book

  3. a recurring musical phrase

Origin of motto

C16: via Italian from Latin muttum utterance

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012