- a short, recurring musical phrase or theme, esp. as used in Wagnerian opera to represent a given character, emotion, etc.
- a dominant theme or underlying pattern
Origin of leitmotifGerman leitmotiv from leiten, to lead + motiv, motive
- A melodic passage or phrase, especially in Wagnerian opera, associated with a specific character, situation, or element.
- A dominant and recurring theme, as in a novel.
Origin of leitmotifGerman Leitmotiv leiten to lead ( from Middle High German) ( from Old High German leitan ; see leit- in Indo-European roots.) Motiv motif ( from French motif ; see motif . )