Word of the Day


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Liz Potter
Written by Liz Potter


a pattern or picture made of many small coloured pieces of stone, glass etc

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

Origin and usage

The noun mosaic was borrowed from French. It was first used in English in the 16th century.


A mosaic floor belonging to a Roman villa has been discovered by archaeologists in the northern Italian town of Negrar di Valpolicella. While the presence of the villa has been known about for over a century, its precise location remained unknown until archaeologists returned to work on the site after months of lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. The floor, which looks to be in pristine condition, was buried under several metres of soil beneath a vineyard – the area is famous for its red wine. While the most renowned mosaics come from antiquity, the art is alive and well today having undergone a revival in the 20th century. The most famous modern mosaic artist was probably Antoni Gaudí, the Catalan architect who used mosaics to embellish some of his most famous buildings. Mosaic is also used metaphorically to refer to a combination of different things or people.


We all live as equal members in Canada’s cultural mosaic.
(enTenTen15 corpus)

“The Bardo Museum contains the largest collection of Roman mosaics in the world.
(enTenTen15 corpus)

Related words

motif, pattern, patchwork

Browse related words in the Macmillan Thesaurus.

About the author

Liz Potter

Liz Potter

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