- a principal melodic subject in a musical composition.
- a short melodic subject from which variations are developed.
verb (used with object), themed, them·ing.
Origin of theme
Synonyms for theme
Word Origin for theme
c.1300, from Old French tesme (13c., with silent -s-), from Latin thema "a subject, thesis," from Greek thema "a proposition, subject, deposit," literally "something set down," from root of tithenai "put down, place," from PIE root *dhe- "to put, to do" (see factitious). Extension to music first recorded 1670s; theme song first attested 1929. Theme park is from 1960.
A central idea in a piece of writing or other work of art: “The theme of desperation is found throughout his novels.” Also a short composition assigned to a student as a writing exercise.