Meaning of thematic role in English:

thematic role



  • (in Chomskyan linguistics) any of a set of semantic roles that a noun phrase may have in relation to a verb, for example agent, patient, location, source, or goal.

    Also called theta role

    ‘A number of verbs belonging to each category are analyzed in terms of the thematic roles and grammatical relations undertaken by the noun phrases required by these verbs.’
    • ‘A discussion of thematic roles is closely linked to one of the most complex questions ever: what is meaning?’