Definition of thematic role in English:

thematic role

Line breaks: the|mat¦ic role


  • (In Chomskyan linguistics) any of a set of semantic roles that a noun phrase may have in relation to a verb, for example agent, patient, location, source, or goal. Also called theta role.
    More example sentences
    • A number of verbs belonging to each category are analyzed in terms of the thematic roles and grammatical relations undertaken by the noun phrases required by these verbs.
    • A discussion of thematic roles is closely linked to one of the most complex questions ever: what is meaning?

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Word of the day mage
Pronunciation: meɪdʒ
a magician or learned person