from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A plot element or other device used to catch the audience's attention and maintain suspense, but whose exact nature has fairly little influence over the storyline.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. (film) a plot element that catches the viewers' attention or drives the plot


Used by Alfred Hitchcock. (Wiktionary)



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  • Coined by none other than Alfred Hitchcock. I placed this on my bywords list (for now at least) because this sounds like a person's name; presumably the MacGuffin in movie could be an (unnamed) character.

    February 24, 2012

  • Wow, that's quite specific.

    October 29, 2010