Definition of perpetuum mobile in English:

perpetuum mobile


  • 1

    another term for perpetual motion

    ‘His preoccupations caricature Fedor's preoccupation with infinity by reducing what is for Fedor a kind of otherworldly transcendence to the pragmatism of a perpetuum mobile.’
    • ‘Tito's perpetuum mobile kept rotating during the stagnant 1970s.’
    • ‘We are amused by purported perpetuum mobile devices.’
  • 2Music
    A piece of fast-moving instrumental music consisting mainly of notes of equal length.

    ‘Other 20th-century composers, for instance Honegger, Martin, and Prokofiev, wrote toccatas in perpetuum mobile style, following the example of Schumann.’
    • ‘Op. 54 is in two movements, minuet and a kind of perpetuum mobile, often referred to as a toccata: its form and style can't be found elsewhere in Beethoven.’


perpetuum mobile

/pərˌpeCHəwəm ˈmōbəlē/ /pərˌpɛtʃəwəm ˈmoʊbəli/


Latin, literally ‘continuously moving (thing)’, on the pattern of primum mobile.