\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

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.”
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Then Sullivan guides the class through a meditative session, sometimes with different themes, focusing on sounds, breathing, and body scans, all techniques used to focus people on being present. Ryan Nickerson, Houston Chronicle, "Weekly mindfulness classes held at Russ Pitman Park in Bellaire," 10 Feb. 2020 All have signs nearby with a common theme: outsiders cannot pass. Charlie Campbell, Time, "The Coronavirus Outbreak Could Derail Xi Jinping’s Dreams of a Chinese Century," 6 Feb. 2020 In 2018, Macy’s also acquired Story, a New York single-store concept founded by Shechtman that emptied out every couple of months and reopened with an entirely new theme of merchandise. Maria Halkias, Dallas News, "Macy’s is partly betting its future on a new shop opening first in Southlake Town Square," 4 Feb. 2020 Keeping with the dog theme, the levels go by size: Rottie, Lab, Frenchy and Pom. Tirion Morris, azcentral, "Here are 5 metro Phoenix wine clubs worth trying in 2020," 3 Feb. 2020 In keeping with the Roaring 20s theme, adults can buy tickets to drink period cocktails at the Cool Brew Speakeasy within the Cedarburg Cultural Center from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday. Jeff Rumage, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Cedarburg's Winter Festival takes on Roaring 20's theme," 3 Feb. 2020 This new month is for lovers, and viewing options on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO Now and Acorn TV are in line with that theme. Michelle Krupa, CNN, "Start your Monday smart: Super Bowl, Iowa, State of the Union, Israel, Solar Orbiter," 2 Feb. 2020 His rhymes, with the high school themes and delivered with an authority that belied his lack of experience, stood him in good stead. Chuck Yarborough, cleveland, "24th annual Tri-C High School Rock Off gets off to rousing start with stiff competition," 2 Feb. 2020 Sticking with the 49ers’ theme, Cameron DaSilva is also all about San Francisco, predicting a super-tight game with the 49ers beating the Chiefs by just one point, 28-27. Brian Rudd, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "2020 Super Bowl picks, scores and MVP predictions," 2 Feb. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about theme

Time Traveler for theme

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for theme

Last Updated

13 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Theme.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for theme


How to pronounce theme (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on theme

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for theme

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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