\ ˈtrōp \

Definition of trope 

1a : a word or expression used in a figurative sense : figure of speech

b : a common or overused theme or device : cliché the usual horror movie tropes

2 : a phrase or verse added as an embellishment or interpolation to the sung parts of the Mass in the Middle Ages

Examples of trope in a Sentence

a screenplay that reads like a catalog of mystery-thriller tropes

Recent Examples on the Web

Charmed often subverted fairy-tale tropes, so the fairy-tale ending didn't track. Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, "The 10 best (and five worst) TV series finales of all time," 31 May 2018 Despite the show’s soft ratings, its large, talented ensemble cast, rapid-fire sense of humor, and commitment to subverting storytelling tropes in a more progressive manner had made the show a favorite of online TV fans. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Last Man Standing were saved from cancellation for the same reason," 15 May 2018 In a short story for Big Echo, Jo Lindsay Walton explores the classic time travel trope. Michelle Weber, Longreads, "“They’ve Forked Baby Hitler”," 23 Apr. 2018 Other works are more dystopian, using science fiction tropes to explore the difficulties facing minority groups in the present day. Alex Fitzpatrick, Time, "It's Not Just Black Panther. Afrofuturism Is Having a Moment," 20 Apr. 2018 Staples’s drawings also subvert exhausted racist tropes. Shaan Amin, The Atlantic, "The Sprawling, Empathetic Adventure of Saga," 28 Mar. 2018 Indeed, this second Uniqlo collaboration feels like a continuation of what Anderson started with that Spring 2018 menswear show, taking essential fashion tropes and modernizing them with a clever spin. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "Can Wardrobe Basics Be Radical? Jonathan Anderson on His New Essentials for Uniqlo," 28 Mar. 2018 Black feminists have long described how the racist roots of American history gave birth to these stereotypes of Black mothers, and how politicians like President Ronald Reagan used racist tropes to cut funding to social welfare programs. Lara Witt, Teen Vogue, "Kylie Jenner's Privilege Helped Her Avoid the Stigma Other Pregnant People Can't Escape," 7 Feb. 2018 Horror has long used its tropes as modes of commentary and symbolism to tell deeper stories than their chilling surface spectacles. Laura Bradley, HWD, "The Terror Season 2 Could Be One of 2019’s Most Important Shows," 22 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'trope.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of trope

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for trope

Latin tropus, from Greek tropos turn, way, manner, style, trope, from trepein to turn

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Statistics for trope

Last Updated

22 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for trope

The first known use of trope was before the 12th century

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English Language Learners Definition of trope

: a word, phrase, or image used in a new and different way in order to create an artistic effect

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Comments on trope

What made you want to look up trope? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to deposit or conceal in a hiding place

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