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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ Brooke-Rose reverses this familiar postmodernist trope by focusing instead on the relation between the characters and their readers.
▪ In effect, Freud attributes to the unconscious the power of a writer brilliantly deploying the classical tropes to transform his material.
▪ Knowledge of their ontological status thus functions in Textermination as a trope for indeterminacy.
▪ The movement was also programmatically self-conscious, one of the modernist tropes.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Trope \Trope\, n. [L. tropus, Gr. ?, fr. ? to turn. See Torture, and cf. Trophy, Tropic, Troubadour, Trover.] (Rhet.)

  1. The use of a word or expression in a different sense from that which properly belongs to it; the use of a word or expression as changed from the original signification to another, for the sake of giving life or emphasis to an idea; a figure of speech.

  2. The word or expression so used.

    In his frequent, long, and tedious speeches, it has been said that a trope never passed his lips.

    Note: Tropes are chiefly of four kinds: metaphor, metonymy, synecdoche, and irony. Some authors make figures the genus, of which trope is a species; others make them different things, defining trope to be a change of sense, and figure to be any ornament, except what becomes so by such change.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1530s, from Latin tropus "a figure of speech," from Greek tropos "a turn, direction, course, way; manner, fashion," in rhetoric, "turn or figure of speech," related to trope "a turning" and trepein "to turn," from PIE root trep- (2) "to turn" (cognates: 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" [OED], "as when we call a stupid fellow an ass, or a shrewd man a fox" [Century Dictionary].


n. 1 (context literature English) Something recurring across a genre or type of literature, such as the ‘mad scientist’ of horror movies or ‘once upon a time’ as an introduction to fairy tales. Similar to archetype and cliché but not necessarily pejorative. 2 A figure of speech in which words or phrases are used with a nonliteral or figurative meaning, such as a metaphor. 3 (context music English) A short cadence at the end of the melody in some early music. 4 (context music English) A phrase or verse added to the mass when sung by a choir. 5 (context music English) A pair of complementary hexachords in twelve-tone technique. 6 (context Judaism English) A cantillation pattern, or the mark that represents it. vb. 1 To use, or embellish something with a trope. 2 (context often literature English) To turn into, coin or create a new trope. 3 (context often literature English) To analyze a work in terms of its literary tropes. 4 (context intransitive English) To think or write in terms of tropes.


n. language used in a figurative or nonliteral sense [syn: figure of speech, figure, image]



Trope or tropes may refer to:

Trope (music)

A trope or tropus may be a variety of different things in medieval, 20th-, and 21st-century music.

The term trope derives from the Greek τρόπος (tropos), "a turn, a change" , related to the root of the verb τρέπειν (trepein), "to turn, to direct, to alter, to change" . The Latinised form of the word is tropus.

In music, a trope is adding another section, or trope to a plainchant or section of plainchant, thus making it appropriate to a particular occasion or festival.

Trope (literature)

A literary trope is the use of figurative language – via word, phrase, or even an image – for artistic effect such as using a figure of speech. The word trope has also come to be used for describing commonly recurring literary and rhetorical devices, motifs or clichés in creative works.

Trope (mathematics)

In geometry, trope is an archaic term for a singular (meaning special) tangent space of a variety, often a quartic surface. The term may have been introduced by , who defined it as "the reciprocal term to node". It is not easy to give a precise definition, because the term is used mainly in older books and papers on algebraic geometry, whose definitions are vague and different, and use archaic terminology. The term trope is used in the theory of quartic surfaces in projective space, where it is sometimes defined as a tangent space meeting the quartic surface in a conic; for example Kummer's surface has 16 tropes.

Trope (religion)

In Judaism, trope (or Yiddish טראָפּ trop) is the musical pronunciation associated with the cantillation marks (accents) used for the ritual chanting of the Torah.

Trope (philosophy)

The term "trope" is both a term which denotes figurative and metaphorical language and one which has been used in various technical senses. The term trope derives from the Greek τρόπος (tropos), "a turn, a change", related to the root of the verb τρέπειν (trepein), "to turn, to direct, to alter, to change"; this means that the term is used metaphorically to denote, among other things, metaphorical language. Perhaps the term can be explained as meaning the same thing as a turn of phrase in its original sense.

The term is also used in technical senses, which do not always correspond to its linguistic origin. Its meaning has to be judged from the context, some of which are given below.

Usage examples of "trope".

As stars flash into light, so he flashes into metaphor, metonymy, trope, personification, or simile.

Oldfellow whined, but he had neither her vocabulary, suprasegmental tropes of remote jungle origin, nor her numinosity.

The liberal trope of associating Republicans with slavery is a daring smear inasmuch as the Republican Party was formed for the express purpose of opposing slavery.

They sparkled too with the names of things in themselves beautiful, but whether these things were in general wisely or fairly used in his figures and tropes and comparisons, he was now more than doubtful.

Dickens to Grisham has relied on a tried-and-true stable of tropes, and the interesting thing is watching how they use them and what they choose to illuminate by that usage.

If such a furious trope may stand, his special lunacy stormed his general sanity, and carried it, and turned all its concentred cannon upon its own mad mark.

And yet, when Rhodri was a crusading political writer, had not some tropes and rhythms of Ossian given substance to his prose?

Although Lewis Shiner entered the fiction world with the burgeoning cyberpunk movement of the early 1980s, he prefers not to be bound by the tropes of any one literary genre or movement, instead writing fiction that transcends these limitations.

She even exchanged a small smile with him, from time to time, as Stitches continued to elaborate on his salty tropes.

He returned to his room and took an omegendorph and one of the new pandorphs Spencer had given him, and then he went out into the quadrant’s central atrium and wandered among the plants, all skinny storm spawn, troping toward the lightbulbs running overhead.