|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]|
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.
Learn more about trope with a free trial on Britannica.com.