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 book of Jonah is a leitmotif in this novel for illustrating this idea.’
    • ‘As a result, his body and its ailments become the leitmotif of the novel.’
    • ‘The key leitmotiv throughout Richard Hooker's writings is the concept of order.’
    • ‘The work abounds in leitmotivs, the most important of which are those relating to Holmes and Watson.’
    • ‘The constant struggle to make a living in the arts in New Zealand runs like a leitmotiv throughout the book.’
    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/