In the contemporary literary studies, the category ‘motto’ has a well-established
position, although one often meets an opinion that a uniform theory of universal motto
has not been developed yet. This article is an attempt to synthesise the existing findings
about the motto. It presents an overview of the most interesting research positions. This
allows us to illustrate, in general terms, how the meaning of the motto changed from the
sixteenth to the eighteenth century, and how it evolved from a very general blurry
meaning to the one representing the main characteristics of intertextuality.