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


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 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

Keep scrolling for more

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


a church decorated with old mosaics a picture done in mosaic

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Much of its collection is spillover from the Capitoline Museums while its floors feature large mosaics of hunting scenes and are instagrammable in themselves. Laura Itzkowitz, Condé Nast Traveler, "Rome's Art & Architecture: Our Guide," 5 Mar. 2018 There was a room at the Museo degli Argenti at the Pitti Palace that had dusty cases with these tiny mosaics displayed inside. Parker Bowie Larson, ELLE Decor, "These Micromosaic Pendants and Tea Sets Are Incredible," 10 May 2019 Every doorway an architectural sculpture, every window a visual poem, every floor a storied mosaic. Jordan Roth, Vogue, "Jordan Roth: A Man’s View on the Haute Couture," 28 Jan. 2019 These findings demonstrated that Astrea had become a mosaic very early in her development. New York Times, "Every Cell in Your Body Has the Same DNA. Except It Doesn’t.," 21 May 2018 On every floor, the elevators open up to a different 15-foot-wide mosaic. Mary Louise Schumacher, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "State Office Building murals by pioneering artist in jeopardy," 10 Apr. 2018 Lembo found his inspiration for these whimsical creations in Byzantine art, often using mosaics in his design. Elizabeth Pash, House Beautiful, "You Need to Know About Francois Lembo's Jeweled Mirrors," 12 Apr. 2019 Some of the first evidence of bras can even be found in wall paintings, including a Roman mosaic in the Villa Romana del Casale in Sicily, dating back to the 4th century A.D., as well as in Crete, from the 1300s, of women wearing bandeau bras. Vogue, "The True History of the Ultimate Wardrobe Essential—Your Bra," 11 Mar. 2019 Dolce & Gabbana’s full-length dress shimmers with what looks like pieces of a religious mosaic. Mary Forgione,, "Five museum fashion shows not to miss, with items from Britain's royals and Frida Kahlo's closet," 30 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Within more than 1,600 square feet of interior are mosaic parquet wood floors, formal living and dining rooms, a sun room and a den with a rock-wall fireplace. Neal J. Leitereg,, "Tyra Banks lands her next home project in Pacific Palisades," 10 June 2019 But the focus of the evening was on the dance floor, which was designed to look like a mosaic tile pattern and felt like an extension of the gardens, with a canopy of greenery and bright pink florals. Shawn Connell For Christian Oth Studio, Harper's BAZAAR, "Two Haute Couture Looks Were the Centerpiece of This Stunning Wedding in Capri," 17 May 2019 That vibe is underscored with the space's massive floor-to-ceiling windows, an open kitchen with mosaic countertops, and the vibrant family photos around David's office. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "The Stunning House In Beautiful Boy Is Also In Big Little Lies," 26 Oct. 2018 Both were part of a recent renovation, along with European-style cabinetry, new fixtures, and mosaic tile showers. Lauren Smith, House Beautiful, "A Time Capsule Home That Will Transport You to 1954," 13 Aug. 2015 But our baby girl had developed with a genetic anomaly known as mosaic trisomy 14. Nadine Jolie Courtney, SELF, "Everything I Thought I Knew About Miscarriages Changed When I Had Two ‘Silent’ Ones," 22 Apr. 2019 Close your eyes, hear the mixers whirring and the staff running coffee to the guests sitting around the mosaic stone table, scraping bits of cake off plates as their tipsy conversations flowed into the night. The New York Times, New York Times, "The Museums Times Reporters Like to Visit on Their Days Off," 13 Mar. 2018 Cushions are scattered on soft seating and plain white and wooden tables have been replaced with attractive mosaic ones. Victoria Murphy, Town & Country, "Meghan Markle Tells the Women of the Hubb Community Kitchen She's So "Happy" to Be Pregnant," 21 Nov. 2018 The mosaic-like palette combines a dozen flattering hues; then sweep it over your makeup as a light-catching, lustrous finale. Hannah Morrill, Marie Claire, "These Are the Exact Products You Need for the Glowiest Skin of Your Life," 30 June 2016

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

31 May 2019

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 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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on mosaic

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with mosaic

Spanish Central: Translation of mosaic

Nglish: Translation of mosaic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of mosaic for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about mosaic

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).


behavior toward others

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!