McGuffin

(redirected from McGuffins)
Also found in: Thesaurus.

MacGuffin

Also: McGuffin
an object, event, or character in a story that lacks intrinsic importance but serves to set and keep the plot in motion

McGuffin

(məˈɡʌfɪn) or

MacGuffin

n
1. (Film) an object or event in a book or a film that serves as the impetus for the plot
2. (Literary & Literary Critical Terms) an object or event in a book or a film that serves as the impetus for the plot
[C20: coined (c. 1935) by Sir Alfred Hitchcock]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.McGuffin - (film) a plot element that catches the viewers' attention or drives the plot; "the McGuffin was a key element of Alfred Hitchcock's films"
plot element - a component or element of the plot of a story
cinema, film, celluloid - a medium that disseminates moving pictures; "theater pieces transferred to celluloid"; "this story would be good cinema"; "film coverage of sporting events"
References in periodicals archive ?
The McGuffins and Burtch, a retired director of the Art Gallery of Algoma, began collaborating on the project in 2008, researching the artists' painting sites and then travelling around Algoma and the North Shore to locate and photograph those sites, matching the photographs with the paintings.
The goal isn't mass tourism, the McGuffins said, but high-value experiences that protect the natural surroundings and build up cultural value, creating employment and boosting economic development along the way.
Painted Land: In Search of the Group of Seven follows adventurers Joanie and Gary McGuffin and historian Michael Burtch as they travel Algoma in search of the sites depicted in paintings created by the famous Canadian artists in the early 1900s.
Real cats and mice 'si aggiravano intorno a McGuffin,' in much the same way as Hitchcock's characters race around their cinematic McGuffins, the wine bottles filled with uranium in Notorious (1946), for example.
I focus on the figures of the narrator and the Hitchcockian McGuffin, who function as narrative devices forwarding the plot and who, I argue, ultimately serve in illustrating the trajectory of the Italian historical novel from its inception to today.
The show avoids cliche sci-fi McGuffins and tells rich stories in which such issues come up naturally.
The mother of all McGuffins has to be the CD-ROM that Iraq must hand over by December 8 carrying what UN hands call the "FFD." That is a "Full and Frank Disclosure" of, as Security Council Resolution 1441 puts it:
As often occurs in short stories, certain McGuffins take on symbolic significance.
If you're going to have a McGuffin, said Hitchcock, you'd better do something with it before the story's finished.
On Seinfeld, on Mad About You, on Ellen, on Friends, most of what fills the plot line and focuses the action, such as it is, are trivial "McGuffins" of small talk and mixed messages.
18 in Pulaski County Chancery Court asking that former franchisees Angie McDonald of Orlando, Fla., and Jan and Wayne McGuffin of Dallas be stopped from using FPI's trademarks and name.