Definition of leitmotif noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

     

    leitmotif

     noun
    (also leitmotiv)noun
    BrE BrE//ˈlaɪtməʊtiːf//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈlaɪtmoʊtiːf//
     
    (from German) Elements of a story
     
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  1. 1 (music) a short tune in a piece of music that is often repeated and is connected with a particular person, thing or idea
  2. 2 an idea or a phrase that is repeated often in a book or work of art, or is typical of a particular person or group See related entries: Elements of a story
  3. Word Origin late 19th cent.: from German Leitmotiv, from leit- ‘leading’ (from leiten ‘to lead’) + Motiv ‘motive’.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: leitmotif