9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[mot-oh] /ˈmɒt oʊ/
noun, plural mottoes, mottos.
a maxim adopted as an expression of the guiding principle of a person, organization, city, etc.
a sentence, phrase, or word expressing the spirit or purpose of a person, organization, city, etc., and often inscribed on a badge, banner, etc.
Origin of motto
1580-90; < Italian < Late Latin muttum sound, utterance. See mot Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for motto
  • It could be his motto and, behind it, one can almost hear him laughing.
  • My motto has always been that it's got to be a round-trip.
  • Hot pink walls and a stenciled motto punch up this tiny eating area.
  • There are a ton of commonly quoted lyrics but no motto.
  • Tell all and plead desperately has always been her motto.
  • Non-toxic, non-lethal and non-harmful is the new motto.
  • Tanning's artistic evolution has adhered to this spirited motto.
  • His motto is to get the thing done and let them howl.
  • Dan, the letterhead of your stationery carries the motto of your university: pax et lux.
  • A juridical motto often mistranslated as the exception that proves the rule.
British Dictionary definitions for motto


noun (pl) -toes, -tos
a short saying expressing the guiding maxim or ideal of a family, organization, etc, esp when part of a coat of arms
a short explanatory phrase inscribed on or attached to something
a verse or maxim contained in a paper cracker
a quotation prefacing a book or chapter of a book
a recurring musical phrase
Word Origin
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
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Word Origin and History for motto

1580s, from Italian motto "a saying, legend attached to a heraldic design," from Late Latin muttum "grunt, word," from Latin muttire "to mutter, mumble, murmur" (see mutter).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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