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motto

[mot-oh] /ˈmɒt oʊ/
noun, plural mottoes, mottos.
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.
Origin of motto
1580-1590
1580-90; < Italian < Late Latin muttum sound, utterance. See mot
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for motto

motto

/ˈmɒtəʊ/
noun (pl) -toes, -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
3.
a verse or maxim contained in a paper cracker
4.
a quotation prefacing a book or chapter of a book
5.
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
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Word Origin and History for motto
n.

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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7
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