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an object or event in a book or a film that serves as the impetus for the plot
Word Origin
C20: coined (c. 1935) by Sir Alfred Hitchcock
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Contemporary definitions for mcguffin

in film, a plot device that has no specific meaning or purpose other than to advance the story; any situation that motivates the action of a film either artificially or substantively; also written MacGuffin

Word Origin

Alfred Hitchcock's term, based on a story where this device was used in a story set on a Scottish train's 21st Century Lexicon
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Slang definitions & phrases for mcguffin



A plot or movie device that raises a seemingly crucial question in the minds of the audience, but may well be a cunning deception: The writers wanted a MacGuffin which would set up a series of absurd rules for us/ You still haven't told me what the McGuffin is. Why were the government and Mr Dsointerested

[1930s+;firstusedbythedirectorAlfred Hitchcock, and perhaps suggested by McGuffin, ''a gift that is not to be opened until Christmas,'' hence something tantalizing, found by 1925]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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