mo·​sa·​ic | \ mō-ˈzā-ik How to pronounce mosaic (audio) \

Definition of mosaic

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1 : a surface decoration made by inlaying small pieces of variously colored material to form pictures or patterns also : the process of making it
2 : a picture or design made in mosaic
3 : something resembling a mosaic a mosaic of visions and daydreams and memories— Lawrence Shainberg
4 : an organism or one of its parts composed of cells of more than one genotype : chimera sense 3
5 : any of numerous virus diseases of plants characterized by diffuse light and dark green or yellow and green mottling of the foliage — compare tobacco mosaic virus
6 : a composite map made of photographs taken by an aircraft or spacecraft
7 : the part of a television camera tube consisting of many minute photoelectric particles that convert light to an electric charge

Definition of mosaic (Entry 2 of 4)

1 : of, relating to, produced by, or resembling a mosaic
2 : exhibiting mosaicism


mosaicked; mosaicking

Definition of mosaic (Entry 3 of 4)

transitive verb

1 : to decorate with mosaics
2 : to form into a mosaic
Mo·​sa·​ic | \ mō-ˈzā-ik How to pronounce Mosaic (audio) \

Definition of Mosaic (Entry 4 of 4)

: of or relating to Moses or the institutions or writings attributed to him lived under the Mosaic Law

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Other Words from mosaic


mosaiclike \ mō-​ˈzā-​ik-​ˌlīk How to pronounce mosaiclike (audio) \ adjective

Adjective (1)

mosaically \ mō-​ˈzā-​ə-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce mosaically (audio) \ adverb

Examples of mosaic in a Sentence

Noun a church decorated with old mosaics a picture done in mosaic
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The Ali Qapu palace is similarly majestic, with its five-story gateway decorated with intricate wall-paintings and mosaics. Washington Post, "What Trump’s tweet threatening Iran’s cultural sites could mean for Shiite Muslims," 9 Jan. 2020 Bison graze selectively over long distances, moving quickly and creating a mosaic of heterogeneous habitat that supports hundreds of native plant, insect, bird, and small mammal species. National Geographic, "Two visions collide amid push to restore Montana plains," 16 Jan. 2020 But few landscapes are more dynamic than the Arctic ice cap, a mosaic of small floes only a few kilometers across. Quanta Magazine, "The Voyage to the End of Ice," 16 Jan. 2020 In fact, the whole congregation creates a mosaic of gestures that praise God. Jana Bennett, The Conversation, "Deaf Christians often struggle to hear God’s word, but some find meaning in the richness of who they are," 26 Dec. 2019 Yenzirbo used a makeshift metal digger crafted from an old golf club to point out a four-lobed ginseng plant growing on a steep slope among a mosaic of other medicinal plants—black cohosh, goldenseal, nettle. Greg Kahn, National Geographic, "Demand for ginseng is creating a ‘wild west’ in Appalachia," 9 Jan. 2020 The facility — complete with a mosaic assembled from pieces of brown and green beverage bottles, red taillights and blue face cream containers — was built by two Dominican nuns in the late 1960s and initially served as a center for migrants. Dave Kallmann, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A heart attack couldn't stop him. Not back surgery. So what's next for this 79-year-old NASCAR-loving, marathon-competing priest?," 26 Dec. 2019 With the decade coming to a denouement, Billboard is looking back on the many Black LGBTQ musicians who blossomed in the last decade, people who added to the musical mosaic of the 2010s. Glendon Francis, Billboard, "12 Black LGBTQ Artists Who Shaped the 2010s," 18 Dec. 2019 Taking center stage overlooking the checkout area is a large-scale, four panel mosaic by Boca Raton artist Ellen Burr. Doreen Christensen,, "Florida’s newest Publix GreenWise features a bar, multiple ‘experience zones’," 12 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The mutation causes asymmetric, mosaic-like overgrowths throughout patients’ bodies. Amanda Morris, azcentral, "He's the oldest-known man with rare Proteus syndrome and he hopes to help find a cure," 28 Jan. 2020 In the boy's bath, a custom mosaic woodland scene by New Ravenna brings unexpected playfulness to the shower. Carisha Swanson, House Beautiful, "The Kids' Rooms That Spark Children's Creativity," 14 Oct. 2019 The glass-walled, three-bedroom residence showcases original mosaic tile work in the kitchen. Lauren Beale, Los Angeles Times, "Hot Property Newsletter: Tobey Maguire and Cheryl Tiegs get back into the realty market," 5 Oct. 2019 Its bathroom is large and flashy with ornamental mosaic tile and stone tile. Judy Rose, Detroit Free Press, "Stroh house in Grosse Pointe still has its Prohibition-era trap door," 28 Dec. 2019 Among those treasures is the Cleveland Museum of Art’s 17th-century ceramic mosaic prayer niche from Isfahan, an Iranian city rich in cultural sites. Steven Litt, cleveland, "President Trump’s threat to attack Iranian cultural sites quickly condemned by U.S. museum leaders," 7 Jan. 2020 The mosaic floor, which dates from the late 3rd or early 4th century A.D., was discovered next to a parking lot by the same team that found the remains of Richard III in the city. Fox News, "Roman tweezers and earbud discovered near UK river," 30 Nov. 2019 Outside, there’s a summer kitchen, an oversized swimming pool crafted from Fontini mosaic tiles imported from Italy, and 175 linear feet of frontage on Biscayne Bay. Robyn A. Friedman,, "A $20 million European-style mansion in South Florida fit for Versace | Photos," 24 Oct. 2019 Concrete floors, walnut built-ins and mosaic tiles adorn the indoor-outdoor living spaces. Los Angeles Times, "Hot Property Newsletter: Properties with serious air," 10 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Fifteen thousand dollars' worth of oil paintings of the owner and his family hung on the walls, and mosaic inlaid tile covered the floor from front to back. Charles J. Johnson,, "The short, sad story of Cafe de Champion — Jack Johnson's mixed-race nightclub on Chicago's South Side," 25 May 2018 The park’s most famous feature is the Life of Christ mosaic. Vincent Crampton,, "Explore Florida's Orange County: Woodlawn Memorial Park’s happy little plot," 6 May 2018 Woodlawn Memorial Park east of Orlando is home to the Life of Christ mosaic, but also home to one of the most famous artists of all time. Vincent Crampton,, "Explore Florida's Orange County: Woodlawn Memorial Park’s happy little plot," 6 May 2018 After years of excavating, archaeologists in Cyprus have uncovered a rare, Roman-era floor mosaic almost 2,000 years old. Casey Smith, National Geographic, "This Ancient Mosaic Depicts a Thrilling Chariot Race," 3 Aug. 2017 A team of installers with Barsanti Marble Bronze Mosaic, 4th generation artisans from Pietrasanta, Italy began replacing the iconic Cosmic Christ mosaic at Huntsville's First Baptist Church Thursday morning May 18th. Bob Gathany |,, "Work begins replacing First Baptist Church Cosmic Christ mosaic," 18 May 2017 Sturiale also commissioned local artists to work on everything from stained glass to mosaic tile to custom metal fabricating. James Patrick Kelly, idahostatesman, "The Sturiale Place, a relocated 1893 home, is a new Italian-inspired cafe in Boise," 14 Apr. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mosaic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of mosaic


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective (1)

1585, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1770, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective (2)

1632, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for mosaic


Middle English musycke, from Medieval Latin musaicum, alteration of Late Latin musivum, from Latin museum, musaeum

Adjective (2)

New Latin Mosaicus, from Moses Moses

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Time Traveler for mosaic

Time Traveler

The first known use of mosaic was in the 15th century

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Statistics for mosaic

Last Updated

22 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Mosaic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for mosaic


How to pronounce Mosaic (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of mosaic

: a decoration on a surface made by pressing small pieces of colored glass or stone into a soft material that then hardens to make pictures or patterns
: something made up of different things that together form a pattern


mo·​sa·​ic | \ mō-ˈzā-ik How to pronounce mosaic (audio) \

Kids Definition of mosaic

: a decoration on a surface made by setting small pieces of glass, stone, or tile of different colors into another material to make patterns or pictures


mo·​sa·​ic | \ mō-ˈzā-ik How to pronounce mosaic (audio) \

Medical Definition of mosaic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an organism or one of its parts composed of cells of more than one genotype : chimera



Medical Definition of mosaic (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : exhibiting mosaicism

Other Words from mosaic

mosaically \ -​ˈzā-​ə-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce mosaically (audio) \ adverb

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