Share this entry
leitmotif Line breaks: leit|motif
Pronunciation: /ˈlʌɪtməʊˌtiːf/
(also leitmotiv)

Definition of leitmotif in English:


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
More example sentences
  • 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.


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

Definition of leitmotif in:
Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources