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[trohp] /troʊp/
  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.
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.
Origin of trope
1525-35; < Latin tropus figure in rhetoric < Greek trópos turn, turning, turn or figure of speech, akin to trépein to turn


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:
< Greek -tropos; see trope, tropo- Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for trope
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The principal varieties of the trope are the metonymy and the metaphor.

    Companion to the Bible E. P. Barrows
  • The turn of expression is called a trope, and change of construction is called a Schema.

  • Bene, satis, male,— Where was I with my trope 'bout one in a quag?

  • Literally, this trope was not accurate, because the station was noisier than usual.

    The Day of Wrath Louis Tracy
  • Rage and despair do sometimes vent themselves in hyperbole and trope.

    Thomas Otway Thomas Otway
British Dictionary definitions for trope


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


combining form
indicating a turning towards, development in the direction of, or affinity to: heliotrope
Word Origin
from Greek tropos a turn
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for trope

1530s, from Latin tropus "a figure of speech," from Greek tropos "turn, direction, turn or figure of speech," related to trope "a turning" and trepein "to turn," from PIE root trep- "to turn" (cf. Sanskrit trapate "is ashamed, confused," properly "turns away in shame;" Latin 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.


word-forming element meaning "that which turns," from Greek tropos (see trope).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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