\ 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

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Other Words from theme

themed \ ˈthēmd How to pronounce themed (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.”
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Recent Examples on the Web

Women’s equality is a major theme in Czeresko’s work. Liz Logan, Smithsonian, "The Spectacle and Drama of Netflix’s New Glassblowing Show Will Shatter Your Expectations," 13 July 2019 Trump's hard line on immigration has been a recurring theme in his presidency and is expected to take center stage in his 2020 reelection bid. John Bacon, USA TODAY, "ICE immigration raids to hit 10 cities Sunday, NYT reports, after Trump promised deportations," 11 July 2019 The heat and humidity will be the main theme through Wednesday. Dallas News, "NBC5 Forecast: Heat Advisory through 8 pm Wednesday," 9 July 2019 Having been a central theme throughout the tournament, VAR took center stage once again as the U.S was granted a penalty in the second half of the Women's World Cup final against the Netherlands. Luis Miguel Echegaray,, "VAR Gives USA Penalty in Women’s World Cup Final vs. Netherlands," 7 July 2019 The act of surprise has been a recurring theme in their relationship. Jasmine Grant, Essence, "Bridal Bliss: Lisa and Sunette Said 'I Do' During Essence Festival 2018," 5 July 2019 There are themes of loss, redemption and friendship and some woofy whimpering. Christopher Arnott,, "Warning: The star of new musical ‘Because of Winn-Dixie’ at Goodspeed may steal your heart," 3 July 2019 Time is a central theme, like Avdhut’s (Ahay Mahajan) resistance to being forced to follow it slavishly, and a corollary is that the pace is meditative and slow-moving. Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Trijya - Radius': Film Review | Shanghai 2019," 1 July 2019 Oceanside romance was a new and big theme in the 1880s in art, literature, and advertising. Brian T. Allen, National Review, "Silver Sailing Cups Recall Gilded Age Glamour and Sexuality," 29 June 2019

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.

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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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Statistics for theme

Last Updated

17 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for theme

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

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More Definitions for theme



English Language Learners Definition of theme

: the main subject that is being discussed or described in a piece of writing, a movie, etc.
: a particular subject or issue that is discussed often or repeatedly
: the particular subject or idea on which the style of something (such as a party or room) is based


\ 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

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More from Merriam-Webster on theme

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with theme

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for theme

Spanish Central: Translation of theme

Nglish: Translation of theme for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of theme for Arabic Speakers

Comments on theme

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


an act or instance of editing or removing

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