mo·sa·ic | \mō-ˈzā-ik \

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


adjective (1)

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


adjective (2)
Mo·sa·ic | \mō-ˈzā-ik \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from mosaic


mosaiclike \-ˈzā-ik-ˌlīk \ adjective

Adjective (1)

mosaically \-ˈzā-ə-k(ə-)lē \ adverb

Examples of mosaic in a Sentence


a church decorated with old mosaics a picture done in mosaic

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Researchers have uncovered a stunning mosaic depicting a biblical scene at the site of an ancient synagogue in Northern Israel. James Rogers, Fox News, "Stunning biblical 'spies' mosaic discovered in Israel," 12 July 2018 Inspired by ancient occult symbols, the Black Sun was incorporated into a mosaic on the floor of Wewelsburg Castle in western Germany — the ideological home base of Heinrich Himmler and the SS. Elizabeth Schumacher, USA TODAY, "Shakira selling Nazi-like trinket for 'El Dorado' tour," 21 June 2018 Over the past year, Yribar said, Boise has looked for alternatives to scraping the mosaic. Sven Berg, The Seattle Times, "Heat, water and trucks are destroying a Boise mosaic," 9 July 2018 The mosaic of patients represents the major drivers of HIV's spread and the communities hard hit by AIDS in the United States. Jon Cohen, Science | AAAS, "‘We’re in a mess.’ Why Florida is struggling with an unusually severe HIV/AIDS problem," 13 June 2018 The mosaic was then dismantled and reassembled on Woodlawn’s Mausoleum of Christian Heritage, dedicated in 1993. Vincent Crampton,, "Explore Florida's Orange County: Woodlawn Memorial Park’s happy little plot," 6 May 2018 There's definitely some prints here that closely resemble the mosaic of terrorism. Fox News, "Hogan Gidley on Macron's 'special relationship' with Trump," 25 Apr. 2018 For its four million citizens, the city is a bustling hub where a mosaic of tribes (43, to be exact) and cultures co-exist, hustle, and more often than not, harmonize. Mosha Lundström Halbert, Vogue, "The Kenyan Cool Girl’s Guide to Nairobi," 2 July 2018 The luxurious residence had elaborate gardens surrounded by colonnaded walkways and was filled with beautiful mosaics, frescoes and sculptures. Henrik Knudsen, Smithsonian, "Buried by the Ash of Vesuvius, These Scrolls Are Being Read for the First Time in Millennia," 26 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The Azulik Honeymoon Villa is three stories high, with two private decks, an outdoor plunge pool, a Balinese bed and a shower (the only villa with a shower; the rest have mosaic tile bathtubs). Mark Rogers, USA TODAY, "Honeymoon guide: Romantic resorts on Mexico’s Caribbean coast," 5 Jan. 2018 Open floating shelving is backed by glass mosaic tile. R. Daniel Foster,, "Before and After: A reimagined Midcentury design helps turn a home from frumpy to fabulous," 6 July 2018 Jim Bachor filled potholes in Chicago with mosaic art pieces. Valerie Bauerlein, WSJ, "Pothole Vigilantes Fill the Streets, Plugging Gaps Left by City Workers," 30 May 2018 Today's top pin is a bathroom with a calming mosaic tile pattern. Sarah Yang, House Beautiful, "Top Pin of the Day: A Breakfast Room with Blue-and-White Accents," 29 Apr. 2014 For the past six months, Tiberino held intergenerational mosaic classes for children and seniors living around the 40th Street corridor of West Philadelphia. Julia Terruso,, "Ellen Tiberino, of art-family royalty, fighting to keep a legacy alive in gentrifying Powelton Village," 12 July 2018 The kitchen is small but updated, with cherry cabinets and a smart marble mosaic backsplash, plus a floor-to-ceiling window overlooking the Bunker Hill Monument. John Gorey,, "For sale: Wonderful one-bedrooms condos," 1 June 2018 Her daughters are fraternal twins, one from the mosaic embryo. Sumathi Reddy, WSJ, "IVF Testing Spurs a Debate Over ‘Mosaic’ Embryos," 21 Mar. 2018 That would mean not speaking to the different bits of their mosaic coalition as if each had separate interests that are opposed to those of the population at large. The Economist, "What’s left?To win back power, Democrats must do things that make them uncomfortable," 14 July 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about mosaic

Dictionary Entries near mosaic






mosaic binding

mosaic dwarf

Statistics for mosaic

Last Updated

18 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for mosaic

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for mosaic



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 \

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 \

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 \ adverb

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on mosaic

What made you want to look up mosaic? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a state of commotion or excitement

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!