a motif or theme associated throughout a music drama with a particular person, situation, or idea.
a unifying or dominant motif; a recurrent theme: A leitmotif in science fiction is the evolving relationship between humans and machines.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use leitmotif in a sentence
The leitmotif of Ukrainian poetry is resilience in the face of oppression.
That calm patience is a leitmotif that has defined the journey of a woman who has arguably become the most important politician of the 21st century.
A leitmotif on journalism threads through this often-byzantine narrative.How the ‘Witch Hunt’ Myth Undermined American Justice | Jason Berry | July 12, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
The complexities within that religious order, renowned for its scholars and loyalty to the pope, make for a numbing leitmotif.
The leitmotif of the new vogue in bad parenting is that keeping the marital buzz buzzing trumps the children.
In her direct and genuine nature there is a 'leitmotif' of pure sweet melody that will enrich the life of its discoverer.Bee and Butterfly | Lucy Foster Madison
And the "Wacht am Rhein" seemed to come and go at intervals, like a leitmotif to all their doings.A Woman's Experience in the Great War | Louise Mack
Like a leitmotif in a musical composition, this love of Dulwich College recurs again and again in his war letters.War Letters of a Public-School Boy | Paul Jones.
Here is the leitmotif of the whole fascinating drama of infection and immunity.Preventable Diseases | Woods Hutchinson
He will come back, murmured Chavvy, in concordance with her leitmotif.Twos and Threes | G. B. Stern
British Dictionary definitions for leitmotif
music a recurring short melodic phrase or theme used, esp in Wagnerian music dramas, to suggest a character, thing, etc
an often repeated word, phrase, image, or theme in a literary work
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cultural definitions for leitmotif
A frequently recurring bit of melody, usually in opera, associated with a person, thing, or emotion; Leitmotiv is German for “leading theme.” The leitmotif may be heard in the instrumental or the vocal part.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.