any literary or rhetorical device, as metaphor, metonymy, synecdoche, and irony, that consists in the use of words in other than their literal sense.
an instance of this. Compare figure of speech.
a phrase, sentence, or verse formerly interpolated in a liturgical text to amplify or embellish.
(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.

1525–35; < Latin tropus figure in rhetoric < Greek trópos turn, turning, turn or figure of speech, akin to trépein to turn Unabridged


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.

< Greek -tropos; see trope, tropo- Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
trope (trəʊp)
1.  rhetoric a word or expression used in a figurative sense
2.  an interpolation of words or music into the plainsong settings of the Roman Catholic liturgy
[C16: from Latin tropus figurative use of a word, from Greek tropos style, turn; related to trepein to turn]

n combining form
indicating a turning towards, development in the direction of, or affinity to: heliotrope
[from Greek tropos a turn]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1533, from L. tropus "a figure of speech," from Gk. tropos "turn, direction, turn or figure of speech," related to trope "a turning" and trepein "to turn," from PIE base trep- "to turn" (cf. Skt. trapate "is ashamed, confused," prop. "turns away in shame;" L. trepit "he turns"). Technically, in rhetoric,
a figure of speech which consists in the use of a word or phrase in a sense other than that which is proper to it.

comb. form meaning "that which turns," from Gk. tropos (see trope).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


in medieval church music, melody, explicatory text, or both added to a plainchant melody. Tropes are of two general types: those adding a new text to a melisma (section of music having one syllable extended over many notes); and those inserting new music, usually with words, between existing sections of melody and text.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
The intellect is stimulated by the statement of truth in a trope, and the will
  by clothing the laws of life in illusions.
Chronicle, on the other hand, treats the found footage itself as a trope.
Most of the media coverage of the debate relied on this familiar trope.
The truth is it's such a trope to sit around and bash your parents.
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