Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A topic of discourse or discussion. See Synonyms at subject.
  • n. A subject of artistic representation.
  • n. An implicit or recurrent idea; a motif: a theme of powerlessness that runs through the diary; a party with a tropical island theme.
  • n. A short composition assigned to a student as a writing exercise.
  • n. Music The principal melodic phrase in a composition, especially a melody forming the basis of a set of variations.
  • n. Linguistics A stem.
  • n. Linguistics See topic.
  • transitive v. Usage Problem To provide with a particular topic or motif. See Usage Note at themed.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A subject of a talk or an artistic piece; a topic.
  • n. A recurring idea; a motif.
  • n. The main melody of a piece of music, especially one that is the source of variations.
  • n. The collection of color schemes, sounds, artwork etc., that "skin" an environment towards a particular motif.
  • n. The stem of a word
  • n. thematic relation of a noun phrase to a verb
  • n. Theta role in generative grammar and government and binding theory.
  • n. Topic, what is being talked about, as opposed to rheme
  • n. A regional unit of organisation in the Byzantine empire.
  • v. To apply a theme to; to change the visual appearance and/or layout of (software).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A subject or topic on which a person writes or speaks; a proposition for discussion or argument; a text.
  • n. Discourse on a certain subject.
  • n. A composition or essay required of a pupil.
  • n. A noun or verb, not modified by inflections; also, that part of a noun or verb which remains unchanged (except by euphonic variations) in declension or conjugation; stem.
  • n. That by means of which a thing is done; means; instrument.
  • n. The leading subject of a composition or a movement.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In astrology, a figure of nativity.
  • n. A subject or topic on which a person writes or speaks; anything proposed as a subject of discourse or discussion.
  • n. That which is said or thought on a given topic.
  • n. Question; subject; matter.
  • n. A short dissertation composed by a student on a given subject; a brief essay; a school composition; a thesis.
  • n. In philology, the part of a noun or verb to which inflectional endings are added; stem; base.
  • n. In music, same as subject. The term is sometimes extended to a short melody from which a set of variations is developed.
  • n. That by which a thing is done; an instrument; a means.
  • n. A division for the purpose of provincial administration under the Byzantine empire. There were twenty-nine themes, twelve in Europe and seventeen in Asia. Also thema.
  • n. In logic, same as thema, 3.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the subject matter of a conversation or discussion
  • n. an essay (especially one written as an assignment)
  • n. (linguistics) the form of a word after all affixes are removed
  • n. (music) melodic subject of a musical composition
  • n. a unifying idea that is a recurrent element in literary or artistic work
  • v. provide with a particular theme or motive

Etymologies

Middle English teme, theme, from Old French tesme, from Latin thema, from Greek; see dhē- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French tesme (French: thème), from Latin thema, from Ancient Greek θέμα (théma), from τίθημι (tithemi, "I put, place"), reduplicative from Proto-Indo-European *dʰeh₁- (“to put, place, do”) (whence also English do). (Wiktionary)

Examples

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