\ ˈtrōp How to pronounce trope (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of trope in a Sentence

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

Recent Examples on the Web

No one fits neatly into a trope, people are just trying to take care of themselves. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "Joanne Ramos' 'The Farm' Forces Us to Take a Complicated Look at Our Society," 1 July 2019 Cooley and the writers even brilliantly play on some kid-friendly horror movie tropes, adding a fresh dimension to this journey. Lindsey Bahr, Detroit Free Press, "In joyous new ‘Toy Story,’ the toys evolve, too," 20 June 2019 In a classic rom-com trope, Moe is barred from going to the dance and unloading her feelings. Ariana Romero,, "R29 Binge Club: Netflix’s Trinkets Recap," 15 June 2019 On Tuesday, meanwhile, a Republican campaign mailer surfaced in Connecticut, drawing on anti-Semitic tropes. Rachel Withers, Vox, "Trump’s top agriculture official calls Florida’s gubernatorial race “cotton-pickin’ important”," 4 Nov. 2018 Even worse is Jack’s relationship with Ellie, which comes straight from Curtis’s grab-bag of tired, will-they-or-won’t-they tropes. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Yesterday Imagines a World Where the Beatles Never Existed," 26 June 2019 As the election neared, Ms. Cabán and some of her supporters accused Ms. Katz’s supporters of running ads that used racial tropes to try to scare away voters. Azi Paybarah, New York Times, "New York Primary Elections: Who’s Running for Queens D.A.," 25 June 2019 Eva wasn’t the first anime to marry fun action tropes with deeper religious symbolism and an overarching metaphysical tone. Allegra Frank, Vox, "8 things to know about Neon Genesis Evangelion, the legendary anime now streaming on Netflix," 21 June 2019 Even Sam Peckinpah, a crusty cynic who wanted no part of psychedelic hippie pacifism, began turning movie tropes inside out, with The Wild Bunch, a Western like no other before it. Kyle Smith, National Review, "The Wild Bunch and American Disillusionment," 20 June 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for trope



English Language Learners Definition of trope

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


something desired as essential

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!