tropism

noun
tro·​pism | \ ˈtrō-ˌpi-zəm How to pronounce tropism (audio) \

Definition of tropism

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : involuntary orientation by an organism or one of its parts that involves turning or curving by movement or by differential growth and is a positive or negative response to a source of stimulation
b : a reflex reaction involving a tropism
2 : an innate tendency to react in a definite manner to stimuli broadly : a natural inclination : propensity encouraged his tropism toward the theatrical — John Updike

Definition of -tropism (Entry 2 of 2)

: tropism heliotropism

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from tropism

Noun

tropistic \ trō-​ˈpi-​stik How to pronounce -tropism (audio) \ adjective

Did you know?

In hydrotropism, a plant's roots grow in the direction of increasing moisture, hoping to obtain water. In phototropism, a plant (or fungus) moves toward light, usually the sun—perhaps because, in the colder climates where such plants are usually found, concentrating the sun's warmth within the sun-seeking flower can create a warm and inviting environment for the insects that fertilize it. In thigmotropism, the organism moves in response to being touched; most climbing plants, for example, put out tiny tendrils that feel around for something solid and then attach themselves or curl around it. When microbiologists talk about tropism, however, they're often referring instead to the way a virus will seek out a particular type of cell to infect. And when intellectuals use the word, they usually mean a tendency shown by a person or group which they themselves might not even be aware of.

Examples of tropism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In one way, the press conferences are a logical continuation of Trump’s tropism toward spectacle. Megan Garber, The Atlantic, 24 Apr. 2020 Now, as with so much else, Trumpism is changing that tropism in unpredictable ways. Bill Mckibben, New Republic, 6 July 2017

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

First Known Use of tropism

Noun

1893, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for tropism

Noun

generalization of -tropism, after German Tropismus

Noun combining form

-trope or -trop(ic) + -ism, after German -tropismus

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About tropism

Time Traveler for tropism

Time Traveler

The first known use of tropism was in 1893

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near tropism

-tropin

tropism

-tropism

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for tropism

Cite this Entry

“Tropism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tropism. Accessed 25 Sep. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for tropism

tropism

noun
tro·​pism | \ ˈtrō-ˌpiz-əm How to pronounce tropism (audio) \

Medical Definition of tropism

: involuntary orientation by an organism or one of its parts that involves turning or curving by movement or by differential growth and is a positive or negative response to a source of stimulation also : a reflex reaction involving a tropism

Other Words from tropism

tropistic \ trō-​ˈpis-​tik How to pronounce tropism (audio) \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on tropism

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about tropism

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Dog Words Quiz

  • shiba puppy more or less demanding cuddles
  • Which of the following animals has a dog in its etymology?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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