Definition of theme in English:

theme

Line breaks: theme
Pronunciation: /θiːm
 
/

noun

  • 2An idea that recurs in or pervades a work of art or literature: love and honour are the pivotal themes of the Hornblower books
    More example sentences
    • Another important cause of tension was the persistent use of mythological themes in art and literature, in a society still devoted to Christianity.
    • Love, sex, duplicity, betrayal - the abiding themes of literature are all there, along with the fascinating twist that it's all going on under the watchful eye of the public.
    • The other day I glanced at the latest of these potted guides, which informed me that ‘childhood is a recurring theme in Scottish literature’.
  • 2.1 Music A prominent or frequently recurring melody or group of notes in a composition: the first violin takes up the theme high up in its register
    More example sentences
    • There are motifs, themes, and recurring melodies, all the things you'd expect from one song blown up to forty minutes.
    • Written in the form of a theme and variations, Britten composed a central theme based on a melody by the first great English composer, Henry Purcell.
    • His operas reveal careful dramatic planning, and his use of recurring themes and motifs frequently creates conceptual and musical unity within a work.
    Synonyms
  • 2.2 [usually as modifier] A piece of music that frequently recurs in or accompanies the beginning and end of a film, play, or musical: a theme song
    More example sentences
    • The theme music of the film has become a hit with mobile users in town.
    • Pop stardom is simply not on his agenda, with film scores and theme music having significantly more appeal, and in his view, greater longevity in terms of a career.
    • It's a pleasure to hear the film's theme music and Nat King Cole's efforts so well presented.
  • 3 [usually as modifier] A setting given to a restaurant, pub, or leisure venue, intended to evoke a particular country, historical period, culture, etc.: an Irish theme pub
    More example sentences
    • The Restaurant has three themes - Railway, History and Country.
    • How any of this related to the theme of the restaurant I couldn't figure then and still can't.
    • The rustic Northern theme of the restaurant and the pleasant ambient sound combined to make a truly wonderful and very repeatable dining experience.
  • 4 Linguistics The first major constituent of a clause, indicating the subject matter, typically being the subject but optionally other constituents, as in ‘smitten he is not’. Contrasted with rheme.
    More example sentences
    • In the theme-rheme structure, it is the theme that is the prominent element.
    • When a sentence has an indirect object, that constituent may also function as a marked theme, the focus of attention, by beginning the sentence.
  • 4.1The stem of a noun or verb; the part to which inflections are added, especially one composed of the root and an added vowel.
  • 5 historical Any of the twenty-nine provinces in the Byzantine empire.
    More example sentences
    • Other administrative units were devised in due course, such as the shires in England and the themes in Byzantium.

verb

[with object] Back to top  
  • Give a particular theme or setting to (a leisure venue, event, etc.): the amusement park will be themed as a Caribbean pirate stronghold (as adjective themed) a themed party
    More example sentences
    • The garden party was one of three themed events chosen by the Queen to be part of her Golden Jubilee celebrations.
    • There will be prizes for the best costumes and street musicians and special themed events in the restaurants and pubs.
    • The money has been raised through fun weekends, tombola, raffles and special themed events.

Origin

Middle English: via Old French from Latin thema, from Greek, literally 'proposition'; related to tithenai 'to set or place'.

More definitions of theme

Definition of theme in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day kerf
Pronunciation: kəːf
noun
a slit made by cutting with a saw