\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

Each sculpture in this series features feathers – an overt Native American trope. George Fishman, miamiherald, "Monarchs ‘Brown and Native’ butterfly exhibit a response to contemporary events," 13 July 2018 The Aesthetic: Josol’s two-year-old label puts a subversive twist on sunny surf-brand tropes (see: neon graphic hoodies adorned with skeletons and exploding volcanoes). Matt Sebra, GQ, "GQ for Gap 2018: The Coolest Designers on the Planet," 21 June 2018 Holter seems more interested in piling on the genre tropes than working out the details, but that's where the devil is, so to speak. Tony Adler, Chicago Reader, "Ike Holter’s latest, The Light Fantastic, is darkly playful," 23 May 2018 An unusual narrative device — Lilly’s sections are told from beyond the grave — helps keep the story interesting, and Pywell clearly has fun riffing on the romance genre’s tropes and overstuffed language. Joumana Khatib, New York Times, "New in Paperback: ‘Augustown,’ ‘The Storied City’," 18 May 2018 What's your take on why modern comedies rely on such tired tropes? Andrea Mandell, USA TODAY, "Q&A: 'Overboard' star Eugenio Derbez on Trump, conquering Hollywood and Latin stereotypes," 3 May 2018 Mom and Dad have some obvious beef, while each parent-child relationship and sibling rivalry adds its own bit of spice without leaning too heavily on obvious TV tropes. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Lost in Space Netflix review: Danger, Will Robinson (and fans of rational plots)," 13 Apr. 2018 According to Davis, Larsen was remarkable in approaching the subject of race as a modernist, rather than drawing on Southern tropes or vernacular to convey her characters’ blackness. Anne Branigin, The Root, "The New York Times Finally Recognizes the Legacies of These World-Changing Black Women," 8 Mar. 2018 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

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

6 Oct 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).


one that holds something together

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