Italian, from Late Latin muttum grunt, from Latin muttire to mutter
- 1: a sentence, phrase, or word inscribed on something as appropriate to or indicative of its character or use
- 2: a short expression of a guiding principle
A motto (Italian for pledge, sentence; plural: motti) is a phrase meant to formally describe the general motivation or intention of a social group or organization. A motto may be in any language, but Latin is the most used. The local language is usual in the mottos of governments.
In English and Scottish heraldry mottoes are not granted with armorial bearings, and may be adopted and changed at will. Although very unusual and perhaps outside standard heraldic practice, there are some examples of the particular appearance of the motto scroll and letters thereon being blazoned.