\ ˈthēm How to pronounce theme (audio) \

Definition of theme

1a : a subject or topic of discourse or of artistic representation guilt and punishment is the theme of the story
b : a specific and distinctive quality, characteristic, or concern the campaign has lacked a theme
2 : a melodic subject of a musical composition or movement
3 : a written exercise : composition a research theme

Other Words from theme

themed \ ˈthēmd How to pronounce theme (audio) \ adjective

Examples of theme in a Sentence

If one theme unites his scholarship it is that the Old South cannot be viewed as a monolith. — Eric Foner, New York Times Book Review, 8 Apr. 2007 One reiterated theme of his book is that the electoral process can be the most dangerous of delusions, tending to confer a spurious legitimacy on those most willing to corrupt it. — Hilary Mantel, New York Review, 21 Sept. 2006 The Eve of biblical legend was a temptress, thus initiating a lamentable theme in the history of sexism. — Stephen Jay Gould, Discover, July 1992 The quest for power is the underlying theme of the film. A constant theme in his novels is religion. The playwright skillfully brings together various themes. The album focuses on themes of love and loss. Adventures are popular themes in children's books. The growing deficit was a dominant theme in the election. The party had a Hawaiian luau theme. They played the theme from the movie “Rocky.” See More
Recent Examples on the Web Based on a Zen theme, the interiors include a subtle, neutral palette and minimalist furnishings. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 24 June 2022 On theme with Tarek's previous show, Flip or Flop, and current series, Flipping 101, the 8-episode docu-series has a working title of The Flipping El Moussas. Antonia Debianchi,, 22 June 2022 The show, created and written by Harry and Jack Williams, is a British thriller with comedy moments centering on the theme of identity. Leo Barraclough, Variety, 21 June 2022 The panel touched on that theme in its first hearing with a clip from Trump campaign lawyer Alex Cannon, who was shown discussing conversations with then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows sometime in November 2020. Arkansas Online, 11 June 2022 The festival spans June 13-17, each day centered on a new theme. Sam Trottenberg,, 10 June 2022 The theme music is by Taka Yasuzawa and Alex Suguira. Kira Bindrim, Quartz, 6 June 2022 Jennifer Aniston, who was the first guest when The Ellen DeGeneres Show premiered in 2003, will bring the show full circle; Pink, who wrote the show’s theme music, will also appear. Rick Porter, The Hollywood Reporter, 25 May 2022 Jessica Gonzalez can sometimes still hear the eerie theme music for one of the Call of Duty video games in her mind. New York Times, 23 May 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'theme.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of theme

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for theme

Middle English teme, theme, from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French, from Latin thema, from Greek, literally, something laid down, from tithenai to place — more at do

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The first known use of theme was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near theme



theme and variations

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Last Updated

27 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Theme.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for theme


\ ˈthēm How to pronounce theme (audio) \

Kids Definition of theme

1 : a subject of a work of art, music, or literature
2 : a specific quality, characteristic, or concern The room is decorated in a tropical theme.
3 : a written exercise : essay

More from Merriam-Webster on theme

Nglish: Translation of theme for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of theme for Arabic Speakers


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