A word or phrase attached to an emblem, often explaining or emphasizing its symbolic value. In heraldry a motto is a word or phrase carried on a scroll and placed below an achievement of arms or above a crest. The motto can refer to the name or exploits of the bearer or to elements included in the arms or can simply be a pious expression. See also Emblem.
Michelle Brown, Understanding Illuminated Manuscripts (Malibu, CA: J. Paul Getty Museum in association with the British Library, c1994).