Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Topic: MUSIC

Date: 1800-1900
Language: German
Origin: leitmotiv, from leiten 'to lead' + motiv 'motive' (from French motif)

leitmotif

noun
     
leit‧mo‧tif , leitmotiv [countable]
1APM technical a musical phrase that is repeated several times during a long musical work and represents a particular character or idea
2 something that is seen or heard very many times and so becomes a typical feature of a place, time, or person:
Her designs in clothing became a leitmotif of the 1970s.
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