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mosaic (mo-zâ´îk) noun
1.a. A picture or decorative design made by setting small colored pieces, as of stone or tile, into a surface. b. The internal linkprocess or art of making such pictures or designs.
2.A composite picture made of overlapping, usually internal linkaerial, photographs.
3.Something that resembles a mosaic: a mosaic of testimony from various witnesses.
4.Botany. A virus disease of plants, resulting in internal linklight and dark areas in the leaves, which often become shriveled and dwarfed.
5.A photosensitive surface, as in the iconoscope of a television camera.
6.Biology. An individual exhibiting mosaicism.

verb, transitive
mosaicked, mosaicking, mosaics
1.To make by mosaic: mosaic a design on a rosewood box.
2.To adorn with or as if with mosaic: mosaic a sidewalk.

[Middle English musycke, from Old French mosaique, from Old Italian mosaico, from Medieval Latin músâicum, neuter of músâicus, of the Muses, from Latin Músa, Muse, from Greek Mousa.]
- mosa´icist (mo-zâ´î-sîst) noun


Mosaic (mo-zâ'ik) noun
The first popular graphical World Wide Web browser. Released on the internal linkInternet in early 1993 by the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Mosaic is available as freeware and shareware for Windows, Macintosh, and X Window systems. Mosaic is distinguished from other early Web browsers by its ease of use and its addition of inline images to Web documents. Also called NCSA Mosaic.


Mosaics, surface decorations, composed of variously colored small pieces of glass, stone, ceramics, or other materials.

Materials and Techniques

In ancient times mosaics were a form of floor decoration made of small pebbles and later of cut or shaped pieces of marble, hard stone, glass, terra-cotta, mother-of-pearl, and enamel. Pieces, in the form of small internal linkcubes, are called tesserae or tesselae, and are embedded in plaster, cement, or putty using various techinques.

Damaged mosaics in Istanbul have provided internal linkinformation on techniques. Walls to be covered with mosaics received three coats of plaster made up of combinations of lime, sand, brick dust, straw, and marble dust. The plastered wall was then painted in detail in fresco and immediately set with colored cubes to match the painted surface.

To make tesserae, thin slabs of marble or colored stone were cut into strips, which then were cut or broken into cubes. Molten glass was tinted with metal oxides in a wide range of colors and then broken into strips and cubes after solidifying. Gold and silver cubes were produced by gilding glass slabs of pale shades with gold or silver leaf. The cubes were set into the painted surface one at a time, often resulting in deliberate irregularity of the surface.

Pre-christian Mosaics

In the 4th and 3rd millennia BC, Mesopotamia developed a type of mosaic composed of slender cones of baked clay with some base ends painted red, black, and white. These were embedded in mud brick walls to create a decorative protective coating in geometric patterns.

In Crete and on the Greek mainland during the Bronze Age (1600-1000 BC), internal linkwater-worn pebbles were used to decorate floors, sometimes in subtle, multicolored designs. Before the end of the 3rd century BC, pebbles were replaced in large part with tesserae cut from stone and sometimes from glass, allowing artisans to create more detailed designs. Early mosaics from Pompeii show the introduction of Hellenistic mosaics in Italy.

In the Renaissance (14th century to 17th century), mosaic workshops were active in Venice and Rome, where the technique imitated that of illusionistic painting on a gigantic scale. A revival occurred during the 19th century, when mosaics workshops were established in Italy, France, England, and Russia.

Pre-Columbian Mosaics

The Native Americans of Central America independently developed a mosaic technique. Turquoise, a popular material, was cut into small pieces set with vegetable resin onto harder surfaces such as bone and pottery.

mosaic (adjective)

multiform: motley, mosaic, kaleidoscopic, mixed
variegated: mosaic, tessellated, parquet
ornamented: patterned, inwrought, mosaic, inlaid, enameled, chryselephantine

mosaic (noun)

nonuniformity: patchwork, motley, pastiche, mosaic, variegation
medley: motley, patchwork, mosaic, variegation
combination: montage, mosaic, jigsaw, collage
checker: mosaic, tessellation, tesserae, medley
picture: tableau, mosaic, tapestry
ornamental art: inlay, inset, enameling, cloisonné, champlevé, mosaic, marquetry, variegation


mosaicism (mo-zâ´î-sîz´em) noun
A condition in which tissues of genetically different types occur in the same organism.


We become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different internal linkdreams.
Jimmy Carter (b. 1924), U.S. Democratic politician, president. Speech, 27 Oct. 1976, Pittsburgh, Pa.

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