From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishthemetheme /θiːm/ ●●● S2 W2 AWL noun [countable] 🔊 🔊 1 SUBJECTsubject the main subject or idea in a piece of writing, speech, film etc 🔊 The book’s theme is the conflict between love and duty.main/central/major etc theme 🔊 Campbell has made health care a central theme in his campaign. 🔊 Nature is a recurrent theme (=a theme that appears repeatedly) in Frost’s poetry. 🔊 Most of Kurt’s other pictures were variations on the same theme.2 → theme music/song/tune3 APMrepeated tune a short simple tune that is repeated and developed in a piece of music 🔊 Freia’s theme in Wagner’s opera4 style a particular style 🔊 Her bedroom is decorated in a Victorian theme.5 piece of writing American EnglishSES old-fashioned a short piece of writing on a particular subject that you do for school syn essaytheme on 🔊 Your homework is to write a two-page theme on pollution.COLLOCATIONSadjectivesthe main/central/dominant themeThe main theme of the book is the importance of honesty.a major themeCultural change is the second major theme of his work.a common themeDeath and rebirth is a common theme in Eliot’s poetry.a recurrent/recurring theme (=one that appears several times)Returning to traditional values was a major theme of the president’s speech.an underlying theme (=one that is important but not very noticeable)One of the book’s underlying themes is the struggle for human rights.a universal theme (=subjects that affect people of all races and cultures)Readers everywhere can relate to the universal themes in his work.phrasesvariations on a theme (=things with a similar basic subject, style etc)Most of her short stories are variations on the theme of tragedy.
Examples from the Corpustheme• The first is the ability to communicate: to find a theme, to focus on an agenda.• The play's central theme is greed and its corrupting effects.• The supple interplay of major themes will furnish it with the exhilarating sense of a mind meticulous but free.• George Eliot shows real concern for religious and moral themes.• a two-page theme on pollution• The conference's theme is education and training.• But before I take up that theme let me try to get closer to the ground.• She asks the host to describe the theme of the meeting and the desired length of the speech.• And not only do the themes recur, but they overlap.• I really like the theme song to the "Mary Tyler Moore Show."• One of the themes of the book is the relationship between people and nature.• Tartan patterns and plaids are applications of this theme.• The master bedroom is decorated in a Victorian theme.variations on ... theme• There are many variations on this theme.• Many variations on the combination theme can be put into practice.• There are numerous variations on these basic themes to suit soil, climate, and the main farming enterprises.• All kinds of variations on this theme can occur.• The aim should be flexibility within a structure; variations on a theme.• For me, it was the most teasing of all things, variations on a theme, slight changes.• The dealers themselves started working variations on the theme.