ADJ. basic, central, dominant, important, key, main, major, underlying | broad, general | common, popular, universal universal themes of love and loneliness | constant, familiar, favourite, recurrent, recurring | related | unifying | contemporary, topical | historical, religious, etc. | campaign, conference, research | musical The film's haunting musical theme stayed in my head for days.
VERB + THEME develop, discuss, examine, explore His later novels develop the theme of alienation. | warm to ‘Our work’, he continued, warming to his theme, ‘will be a milestone in scientific history.’
THEME + VERB emerge Several familiar themes emerged from the discussion. | run through sth The same themes run through all her novels.
THEME + NOUN music, song, tune | park, pub
PREP. on the ~ of He gave a talk on the theme of teenage unemployment.
PHRASES variations on a theme Most of the essays appear to be variations on a few central themes.