the·​sis ˈthē-səs How to pronounce thesis (audio)
 British especially for sense 3  ˈthe-sis
plural theses ˈthē-ˌsēz How to pronounce thesis (audio)
: a dissertation embodying results of original research and especially substantiating a specific view
especially : one written by a candidate for an academic degree
: a proposition to be proved or one advanced without proof : hypothesis
: a position or proposition that a person (such as a candidate for scholastic honors) advances and offers to maintain by argument
: the unstressed part of a poetic foot especially in accentual verse
: the longer part of a poetic foot especially in quantitative verse
: the accented part of a musical measure : downbeat compare arsis
: the first and least adequate stage of dialectic compare synthesis

Did you know?

In high school, college, or graduate school, students often have to write a thesis on a topic in their major field of study. In many fields, a final thesis is the biggest challenge involved in getting a master's degree, and the same is true for students studying for a Ph.D. (a Ph.D. thesis is often called a dissertation). But a thesis may also be an idea; so in the course of the paper the student may put forth several theses (notice the plural form) and attempt to prove them.

Examples of thesis in a Sentence

She wrote her thesis on Renaissance Nativity scenes. a master's thesis on the effects of global warming New evidence supports his thesis. We disagreed with the basic thesis of the report. The book's central thesis is that propaganda influences the masses in important ways.
Recent Examples on the Web Such stress cannot be underestimated, but the specificity of Dubin’s experience presents a problem for her thesis. Merve Emre, The New Yorker, 18 Sep. 2023 Barneys New York bought her junior thesis collection. Véronique Hyland, ELLE, 7 Sep. 2023 Origin is organized into discrete threads: the relationship between Isabel and her family; the one between the writer and her work; and representations of Caste’s thesis for a general audience. Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter, 6 Sep. 2023 All Sturgis Fellows are actively pursuing a major within Fulbright College, completing an intensive academic program and writing an independent thesis. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Arkansas Online, 3 Sep. 2023 True to this thesis, in recent years, Masanto has co-founded several new quirky projects - Nillion, and PetLab Co. Masanto’s involvement in is reflective of his deep belief in NFTs, which Masanto has been buying since 2015. Jon Stojan, USA TODAY, 18 Aug. 2023 This suicidal thesis was not what ultimately prevailed among most of Allende’s followers. Ariel Dorfman, The New York Review of Books, 31 Aug. 2023 Tyler Joe Earle does not have a working thesis on why her #GetReadyWithMe videos got so popular. Véronique Hyland, ELLE, 30 Aug. 2023 In fact, McManus seems to have cut and pasted his policy on gender from one issued by the bishop of Little Rock, Ark., in 2016, said David Palmieri, a theology teacher at Xaverian Brothers High School in Westwood who is writing a doctoral thesis on LGBTQ students in Catholic high schools. Globe Columnist,, 30 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'thesis.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


in sense 3, Middle English, lowering of the voice, from Late Latin & Greek; Late Latin, from Greek, downbeat, more important part of a foot, literally, act of laying down; in other senses, Latin, from Greek, literally, act of laying down, from tithenai to put, lay down — more at do

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3a(1)

Time Traveler
The first known use of thesis was in the 14th century

Cite this Entry

“Thesis.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


the·​sis ˈthē-səs How to pronounce thesis (audio)
plural theses ˈthē-ˌsēz How to pronounce thesis (audio)
: a statement put forth for discussion or proof : hypothesis
: a long essay presenting the results of original research

More from Merriam-Webster on thesis

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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