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vocabulary
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theme

used in a sentence
3 meanings
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1  —as in:
theme of the novel
Definition a basic idea that underlies what is being said or done — especially in a literary or artistic work
  • The party had a 1950's theme.
theme = an idea that is unifying or recurrent
Other Uses (with this meaning)
  • What is the theme of your essay?
  • theme = the basic idea that underlies what is being said
  • Some committee decided the theme should be Midnight in Paris, so there's a huge Eiffel Tower made out of Christmas lights.
    Angie Thomas  --  The Hate U Give
  • theme = unifying idea
  • Always they were a rehashing of the ancient themes—slum tenements, starving children, street battles, capitalists in top hats—
    George Orwell  --  1984
  • themes = recurring ideas
  • Susan, who had an innate taste for the genteel and well-appointed, was eager to hear, and Fanny could not but indulge herself in dwelling on so beloved a theme.
    Jane Austen  --  Mansfield Park
  • theme = topic (of conversation)
  • Sure enough, the room was full of dresses in every shade of blue. Some of them fell closer to green, others closer to purple, but it was clear there was a theme.
    Kiera Cass  --  The Selection
  • theme = repeated idea
  • Some words of this conversation must have reached Wilson, swaying in the office door, for suddenly a new theme found voice among his gasping cries: "You don't have to tell me what kind of car it was!"
    F. Scott Fitzgerald  --  The Great Gatsby
  • theme = basic idea
  • If I do, or if I even open this again, it will be to deal with different people and different themes, for here at the end, where the romance of my life is told, ere I go back to take up the thread of my life-work, I say sadly and without hope, "FINIS".
    Bram Stoker  --  Dracula
  • themes = basic ideas
  • Rosaleen offered to bake the wedding cake layers, and Violet and Queenie were going to decorate it with a "rainbow theme."
    Sue Monk Kidd  --  The Secret Life of Bees
  • theme = a unifying or recurrent idea
  • The theme is darkness—people who live in darkness.
    Alex Flinn  --  Beastly
theme = idea that is unifying or recurrent

Dictionary / pronunciation — Google®Dictionary list — Onelook.com®
2  —as in:
musical theme
Definition the initial or primary melody of a musical composition

or

(as in "theme song") music that is most repeated in a film, television series, or other theatrical production
  • I smile every time I hear The Simpson's theme music.
theme = primary melody
Other Uses (with this meaning)
  • My mood is uplifted when I hear the Indiana Jones theme music.
  • theme = primary melody
  • The theme is announced in the first measures.
  • theme = primary melody
  • I could almost hear the Star Wars theme music playing in my head as I stood on the stage.
    R.J. Palacio  --  Wonder
  • theme = music that is most repeated in a film
  • [Fresh Prince of Bel-Air] I even relate to the theme song. A couple of gang members who were up to no good made trouble in my neighborhood...
    Angie Thomas  --  The Hate U Give
  • theme = music most repeated in a television series
  • The new tune which was to be the theme-song of Hate Week (the Hate Song, it was called) had already been composed and was being endlessly plugged on the telescreens.
    George Orwell  --  1984
  • theme = most repeated
  • the theme tunes from a few popular TV shows
    Darren Shan  --  A Living Nightmare
  • theme = primary melody
  • The Fresh Prince theme and his willingness to embarrass himself helped with that.
    Angie Thomas  --  The Hate U Give
  • theme = music most repeated in a television series
  • The band started playing "My Girl," the squad theme song,
    Sarah Dessen  --  Dreamland
theme = most repeated

Dictionary / pronunciation — Google®Dictionary list — Onelook.com®
3  —as in:
wrote a 2-page theme on my summer
Definition an essay written by a student

(This sense of theme is much rarer in recent decades than in the past.)
  • She has us write a 500-word theme every other week.
theme = an essay written by a student
Other Uses (with this meaning)
  • Do you choose the topic for your theme or is it assigned?
  • theme = an essay written by a student
  • I wondered for a long time how to start that theme, how to start writing about something that was important to me.
    S.E. Hinton  --  The Outsiders
  • theme = essay
  • That theme— how long can it be?
    S.E. Hinton  --  The Outsiders
  • theme = essay
  • This one started because I hadn't done anything on that theme, and I wanted to go for a ride.
    S.E. Hinton  --  The Outsiders
  • theme = essay
  • I tried to write that theme when I got home.
    S.E. Hinton  --  The Outsiders
  • theme = essay
  • What's the theme supposed to be on?
    S.E. Hinton  --  The Outsiders
  • theme = essay
  • And it isn't a reference theme; I want your own ideas and your own experiences.
    S.E. Hinton  --  The Outsiders
  • theme = essay
  • You're failing this class right now, but taking into consideration the circumstances, if you come up with a good semester theme, I'll pass you with a C grade.
    S.E. Hinton  --  The Outsiders
theme = essay

Less commonly:
More rarely, theme can refer to an essay or paper written by a student.
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