MacGuffin

or Mc·Guf·fin

[ muh-guhf-in ]
/ məˈgʌf ɪn /

noun

a plot device in a work of fiction, often a physical object, that drives the plot forward without factoring into the story’s resolution:The statue in The Maltese Falcon is the most well-known example of a MacGuffin in cinema.

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Origin of MacGuffin

First recorded in 1935–40; probably from the surname MacGuffin and popularized by Alfred Hitchcock
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020