theme

noun \ ˈthēm \

Definition of theme

1 a :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
4 :stem 4

themed

play \ˈthēmd\ adjective

Examples of theme in a Sentence

  1. If one theme unites his scholarship it is that the Old South cannot be viewed as a monolith. —Eric FonerNew York Times Book Review8 Apr. 2007
  2. 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 MantelNew York Review21 Sept. 2006
  3. The Eve of biblical legend was a temptress, thus initiating a lamentable theme in the history of sexism. —Stephen Jay GouldDiscoverJuly 1992
  4. The quest for power is the underlying theme of the film.

  5. A constant theme in his novels is religion.

  6. The playwright skillfully brings together various themes.

  7. The album focuses on themes of love and loss.

  8. Adventures are popular themes in children's books.

  9. The growing deficit was a dominant theme in the election.

  10. The party had a Hawaiian luau theme.

  11. They played the theme from the movie “Rocky.”

Recent Examples of theme from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of 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

THEME Defined for Kids

theme

noun \ ˈthēm \

Definition of theme for Students

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


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up theme? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

to conform or adhere

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one-green-toy-robot-amidst-many-red-toy-robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!