[ trohp ]
/ troʊp /
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  1. any literary or rhetorical device, as metaphor, metonymy, synecdoche, and irony, that consists in the use of words in other than their literal sense.
  2. an instance of this.Compare figure of speech.
a phrase, sentence, or verse formerly interpolated in a liturgical text to amplify or embellish.
  1. a recurring theme or motif, as in literature or art:the trope of motherhood;the heroic trope.
  2. a convention or device that establishes a predictable or stereotypical representation of a character, setting, or scenario in a creative work:From her introduction in the movie, the character is nothing but a Damsel in Distress trope.The author relies on our knowledge of the Haunted House trope to set the scene.
(in the philosophy of Santayana) the principle of organization according to which matter moves to form an object during the various stages of its existence.



Did you ever collect all those state quarters? Put them to good use on this quiz about curious state monikers and the facts around them.
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Mississippi’s nickname comes from the magnificent trees that grow there. What is it?

Origin of trope

First recorded in 1525–35; from Latin tropus “figure in rhetoric, manner of singing” from Greek trópos “turn, manner, style, figure of speech,” akin to trépein “to turn, direct, show”

Definition for trope (2 of 2)


a combining form meaning “one turned toward” that specified by the initial element (heliotrope); also occurring in concrete nouns that correspond to abstract nouns ending in -tropy or -tropism: allotrope.

Origin of -trope

<Greek -tropos;see trope, tropo-
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What does -trope mean?

The combining formtrope is used like a suffix meaning “one turned outward.” It is also used in concrete nouns that correspond to abstract nouns ending in tropy or -tropism (e.g., an allotrope is an instance of allotropy).

The form -trope ultimately comes from the Greek trópos, “turn,” and tropḗ, “a turning.” The Greek trópos is also the source of the words trope and tropical. It’s your turn to make the connection between “turning,” figures of speech, and the tropics at our entries for the words.

The combining forms -tropic and -tropous can be used as adjective forms of nouns ending with –trope, –tropy, and -tropism.

Corresponding forms of -trope combined to the beginning of words are tropo- and trop-, which you learn more about at our Words That Use articles for the forms.

Examples of -trope

In chemistry, an allotrope is one of two or more existing forms of an element, such as how graphite and diamonds are both forms of carbon. An allotrope is an instance of allotropy, as noted above. Allotropy is a property of certain elements that can exist in two or more distinct forms.

The allo- part of allotrope means “other,” and -trope has a based meaning of “turn” and “turned.” So, an allotrope has a literal sense of “something with another turn,” that is a form or manner.

What are some words that use the combining form -trope?

What are some other forms that -trope may be commonly confused with?

Break it down!

The combining form helio- means “sun.” Heliotrope is a name for a plant whose flowers do what?

Hint: sunflowers are known for this behavior!

Example sentences from the Web for trope

British Dictionary definitions for trope (1 of 2)

/ (trəʊp) /


rhetoric a word or expression used in a figurative sense
an interpolation of words or music into the plainsong settings of the Roman Catholic liturgy

Word Origin for trope

C16: from Latin tropus figurative use of a word, from Greek tropos style, turn; related to trepein to turn

British Dictionary definitions for trope (2 of 2)


n combining form

indicating a turning towards, development in the direction of, or affinity toheliotrope

Word Origin for -trope

from Greek tropos a turn
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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