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Theme Definition

The main idea, thesis or subject matter of a poem. Keats' Ode on a Grecian Urn, for example, deals with the permanence of art and the impermanence of life.


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Other Theme Definition

[n] a unifying idea that is a recurrent element in a literary or artistic work; "it was the usual `boy gets girl' theme"
[n] (linguistics) the form of a word after all affixes are removed; "thematic vowels are part of the stem"
[n] an essay (especially one written as an assignment); "he got an A on his composition"
[n] the subject matter of a conversation or discussion; "he didn't want to discuss that subject"; "it was a very sensitive topic"; "his letters were always on the theme of love"
[n] (music) melodic subject of a musical composition; "the theme is announced in the first measures"; "the accompanist picked up the idea and elaborated it"

Misc. Definitions

\Theme\, n. [OE. teme, OF. teme, F. th[`e]me, L. thema, Gr. ?, fr. ? to set, place. See {Do}, and cf. {Thesis}.]
1. A subject or topic on which a person writes or speaks; a proposition for discussion or argument; a text. My theme is alway one and ever was. --Chaucer. And when a soldier was the theme, my name Was not far off. --Shak.
2. Discourse on a certain subject. Then ran repentance and rehearsed his theme. --Piers Plowman. It was the subject of my theme. --Shak.
3. A composition or essay required of a pupil. --Locke.
4. (Gram.) 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.
5. That by means of which a thing is done; means; instrument. [Obs.] --Swift.
6. (Mus.) The leading subject of a composition or a movement.

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