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

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Other Words from mosaic


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

Adjective (1)

mosaically \ mō-​ˈzā-​ə-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce Mosaic (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 All of this can be avoided by keeping a small U.S.-NATO counterterrorism force in place to help the Afghan military and continue to push the parties to find political solutions to the complicated mosaic of problems in Afghanistan. Lindsey Graham And Jack Keane, WSJ, "It’s a Mistake to Leave Afghanistan," 16 Apr. 2021 As the state prepared to host the world for the 2002 Winter Olympics, leaders from these groups as well as the older Christian denominations united to form the Interfaith Roundtable to highlight the state’s multicolored religious mosaic. The Salt Lake Tribune, "The Tribune has been connected to Mormonism since its beginning. But as Utah grows more diverse, will that continue?," 17 Apr. 2021 The complexity of taking a farm from a blanket of industrial corn to a mosaic of alfalfa, green beans, and olive trees is a costly, complicated endeavor. Shawn Tully, Fortune, "Bill Gates and other billionaires are doubling down on a surprising investment—and you can access it, too," 15 Apr. 2021 At this moment, bringing forward the mosaic of resources present in our companies can make a meaningful difference for the nonprofits in our communities, while enabling our people — and companies — to grow in important ways. Star Tribune, "Win-win: do good while providing growth opportunities for your people," 28 Mar. 2021 Note the shimmering mosaic that Sheets created for the façade of the Garrison. Los Angeles Times, "Craftsman, Classical, Victorian and more: Claremont shows off its architecture on this driving tour," 17 Mar. 2021 But all these are important to a mosaic of relationships which provide richness in our lives. Tracy Brower, Forbes, "How To Build Relationships And Enhance Happiness: 4 Insights From Neuroscience," 4 Apr. 2021 This past summer, young Asians were part of the multiracial mosaic that took to the streets to protest the killing of George Floyd in police custody. Washington Post, "A convergence of racial reckoning for Black and Asian Americans," 24 Mar. 2021 Among the hundreds of treasures on display: a spectacular, second-century mosaic of the Pegasus, made from stones in 162 hues, which is visible through a glass floor in the lobby, and another depicting colorful birds. Jeff Chu, Travel + Leisure, "4 Impact-driven Hotels and Hospitality Brands," 18 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The bathroom off the master bedroom has a double vanity, an LED touch mirror, and a shower with a mosaic inside. Mark Dunphy, San Antonio Express-News, "Photos: San Antonio builder selling his own sleek Southtown home," 8 Feb. 2021 High manure concentrations draw insects and provide a wonderful growth medium for a mosaic of wild grasses. Erik Kobayashi-solomon, Forbes, "The Hidden Story Behind Tampa’s Toxic Pool," 9 Apr. 2021 Structured less as a self-portrait and more as a mosaic, Howland tells the stories of her fellow patients with astuteness and empathy. Kathleen Rooney, Star Tribune, "Review: 'W-3: A Memoir,' by Bette Howland," 15 Jan. 2021 Physicists initially visualized microscopic space as a mosaic of little chunks of space. George Musser, Scientific American, "What Is Spacetime?," 1 June 2018 Sabrina Nayeb took on the branding and design for the restaurant, which preserves a few decorative elements from Hattie’s like the white and black mosaic tile floors near the front door. Sarah Blaskovich, Dallas News, "You’ll want to get a taste of Âme, an upscale Indian restaurant opening April 9 in Oak Cliff," 1 Apr. 2021 The buyer behind Beeple's $69 million mosaic, for example, is an anonymous digital investor known only by his handle, Metakovan, who purchased the collage with the cryptocurrency Ether. Leena Kim, Town & Country, "WTF is an NFT—and Why Should We Care?," 25 Mar. 2021 Philadelphia glass mosaic artist Emilie Ledieu, a longtime Hubbell collaborator, is now in residence in the new caretaker’s cottage. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Annual Hubbell home tours in Santa Ysabel to return for expanded viewing season," 25 Mar. 2021 Stroll through the long marigold hall, lined with sparkling crystal chandeliers, mosaic flooring and gilded pillars, to reach the legendary Sazerac Bar, where the namesake cocktail was invented. Jennifer Kester, Forbes, "32 Stunning Hotel Lobbies," 19 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Through every discovery of a birth or census record, the story of Roy McQueen and Flossie Burgess started to mosaic together. Slone Terranella, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan woman shocked when delivered 100-year-old postcard," 26 Sep. 2020 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

3 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Mosaic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 May. 2021.

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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 mosaic (audio) \ adverb

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