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[toh-pohs, ‐pos] /ˈtoʊ poʊs, ‐pɒs/
noun, plural topoi
[toh-poi] /ˈtoʊ pɔɪ/ (Show IPA)
a convention or motif, especially in a literary work; a rhetorical convention.
Origin of topos
First recorded in 1935-40, topos is from the Greek word (koinós) tópos ‘(common) place’ Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for topoi
Historical Examples
  • Again, under the seventh head, that of melopoiia or composition, he treats of the 'regions of the voice' (topoi ts phns).

    The Modes of Ancient Greek Music David Binning Monro
  • The text of this passage is uncertain; but the general character of the topoi or regions of the voice is clearly enough indicated.

    The Modes of Ancient Greek Music David Binning Monro
British Dictionary definitions for topoi


noun (pl) -oi (-ɔɪ)
a basic theme or concept, esp a stock topic in rhetoric
Word Origin
C20: Greek, literally: place
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for topoi



1948, from Greek topos, literally "place."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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