Date: 1200-1300
Language: Latin
Origin: thema, from Greek, 'something laid down, theme', from tithenai 'to put'


Related topics: Literature, Film, Music, School
theme S2 W2 [countable]


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.

theme music/song/tune

music or a song that is often played during a film or musical play, or at the beginning and end of a television or radio programme:
the theme song from 'The Brady Bunch'

repeated tune

a short simple tune that is repeated and developed in a piece of music:
Freia's theme in Wagner's opera


a particular style:
Her bedroom is decorated in a Victorian theme.

piece of writing

American EnglishSES old-fashioned a short piece of writing on a particular subject that you do for school [= essay]
theme on
Your homework is to write a two-page theme on pollution.

Dictionary results for "theme"
Dictionary pictures of the day
Do you know what each of these is called?
What is the word for picture 1? What is the word for picture 2? What is the word for picture 3? What is the word for picture 4?
Click on any of the pictures above to find out what it is called.