tropism

noun
tro·​pism | \ˈtrō-ˌpi-zəm \

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

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Other Words from tropism

Noun

tropistic \trō-​ˈpi-​stik \ 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

Now, as with so much else, Trumpism is changing that tropism in unpredictable ways. Bill Mckibben, New Republic, "The New Nation-States," 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

International Scientific Vocabulary -tropism

Noun combining form

International Scientific Vocabulary, from trop-

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Time Traveler for tropism

The first known use of tropism was in 1893

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More Definitions for tropism

tropism

noun
tro·​pism | \ˈtrō-ˌpiz-əm \

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 \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on tropism

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tropism

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about tropism

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