\ 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

Earlier in the night, the model channeled the same romantic, black-and-crimson theme while sitting front row at Jeremy Scott's runway show with Gigi Hadid. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Irina Shayk Wore a $60 Skirt on the Red Carpet and Made It Look Expensive," 7 Sep. 2019 It is organized around five themes, reflective of the interests of its student-curators and a nod to Hopps’s unpredictable and extremely personal approach to exhibitions. Peggy Mcglone, Washington Post, "Art from the Corcoran reestablishes its place in D.C. with exhibition at AU," 6 Sep. 2019 To make the maze, Kondilis said, the farm picks the theme, designs the image and then works it into a maze. oregonlive, "This Sauvie Island farm is promoting gender equality with a massive corn maze," 4 Sep. 2019 This particular site has featured a variety of themes over the years, with Meli's Mediterranean mix and Generations' tapas-style dishes offering different flavors. Jim Riccioli, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Boomerangs Bar & Grill, a new sports bar, opens in downtown Waukesha," 3 Sep. 2019 There's finally full support for a dark theme, which will turn the entire system UI and any supported apps from the usual black text on a white background to white text on a black background. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "Android 10 launches today, and Pixel phones get the day one update," 3 Sep. 2019 Atwood is fascinated by the erosion of the ordinary — a timely theme, certainly. David Canfield,, "The Handmaid's Tale," 3 Sep. 2019 Each weekend has a different theme: Sept. 7-8 Time Travelers Weekend. Luann Gibbs,, "Things to do this week in Cincinnati: Sept. 3-8," 3 Sep. 2019 Now named in honor of the attraction’s founder, the Newton Perry Underwater Mermaid Theater sports new floors, seating, lighting and ceilings, all designed to preserve the theater’s mid-century theme, according to park service officials. Joy Wallace Dickinson,, "Florida’s mermaid spring still sings its siren song," 2 Sep. 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

11 Sep 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).


concealment of treason or felony

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