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a combining form meaning “turn,” “reaction, response,” “change,” “troposphere,” used in the formation of compound words: tropophilous.
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Also especially before a vowel, trop-.

Origin of tropo-

Combining form representing Greek trópos turn, tropḗ a turning
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What does tropo- mean?

Tropo- is a combining form used like a prefix variously meaning “turn,” “reaction, response,” or “change.” The form is used in many scientific terms, including in biochemistry, ecology, and meteorology, where tropo- specifically represents the troposphere, the lowest layer of the atmosphere.

Tropo- 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.

What are variants of tropo-?

When combined with words or word elements that begin with a vowel, tropo- becomes trop-, as in tropism.

Corresponding forms of tropo- combined to the end of words are -trope, -tropic, -tropism, tropous, and tropy. Learn about their specific applications in our Words That Use articles for the forms.

Examples of tropo-

One example of a scientific term that features tropo- is tropophyte, a term for a plant, such as a broad-leaved tree, adapted to environments that alternate between wet and dry conditions.

The first part of the word, tropo-, can indicate “change.” The second part of the word, -phyte, from the Greekn phytón, means “plant.” Tropophyte literally translates to “changing plant,” a reference to how it reacts to its environment.

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

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

Break it down!

Using the meaning of tropo- as a clue, which layer of Earth’s atmosphere experiences the most variable, changing weather patterns?

A. troposphere

B. stratosphere

C. mesophere

D. thermosphere

E. exosphere

British Dictionary definitions for tropo-


combining form
indicating change or a turningtropophyte

Word Origin for tropo-

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

Medical definitions for tropo-


The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.