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.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The constant struggle to make a living in the arts in New Zealand runs like a leitmotiv throughout the book.’
    • ‘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, leitmotif
    View synonyms

Origin

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

Pronunciation:

leitmotif

/ˈlītmōˌtēf/