Definition of leitmotif in English:

leitmotif

(also leitmotiv)

noun

  • A recurrent theme throughout a musical or literary composition, associated with a particular person, idea, or situation.

    ‘there are two leitmotifs in his score marking the heroine and her Fairy Godmother’
    • ‘The constant struggle to make a living in the arts in New Zealand runs like a leitmotiv throughout the book.’
    • ‘The book of Jonah is a leitmotif in this novel for illustrating this idea.’
    • ‘The key leitmotiv throughout Richard Hooker's writings is the concept of order.’
    • ‘As a result, his body and its ailments become the leitmotif of the novel.’
    • ‘The work abounds in leitmotivs, the most important of which are those relating to Holmes and Watson.’
    subject, subject matter, theme, issue, matter, point, talking point, question, concern, argument, discussion, thesis, text, concept, field, area, keynote
    View synonyms

Origin

Late 19th century: from German Leitmotiv, from leit- ‘leading’ (from leiten ‘to lead’) + Motiv ‘motive’.

Pronunciation

leitmotif

/ˈlʌɪtməʊˌtiːf/