Definition of trope in English:


Pronunciation /trōp/ /troʊp/

Translate trope into Spanish


  • 1A figurative or metaphorical use of a word or expression.

    ‘he used the two-Americas trope to explain how a nation free and democratic at home could act wantonly abroad’
    • ‘The scrolls and the codex of the two novels are maps for the reader in linking the tropes, metaphors, and themes of each novel in a non-linear coherence.’
    • ‘Putting metaphor and other tropes in a rather remote place, he propounded another aspect of figurative language as absolutely essential to the sublime.’
    • ‘No longer will one or two tropes or metaphors serve to characterize the poetic work done by women.’
    • ‘From this perspective, it's not that there is no distinction between literal and figurative but rather that tropes and figures are fundamental structures of language, not exceptions and distortions.’
    • ‘And, among these resources, the ‘colors’ of rhetorical tropes figure prominently, as the lavish profusion of colors which marks the first half of the text suggests.’
    1. 1.1A significant or recurrent theme; a motif.
      ‘she uses the Eucharist as a pictorial trope’
      • ‘The most disturbing of these tropes is the idea that ‘combat’ is ‘the highest form of manliness’.’
      • ‘The relative absence of conventional musical tropes doesn't mean, though, that the group approaches compositional matters indifferently.’
      • ‘All those things are the tropes of a reductive idea about what is woman and female.’
      • ‘This is another familiar trope - riddled with conspiratorial whispers as it is.’
      • ‘I'm glad to see that, in this article at least, that trope has been toned down to ask what role those elements might play in these crimes.’

intransitive verb

[no object]
  • Create a trope.

    ‘Beatrice's tactic in wit is to trope the object of her scorn into its satirical extreme, defined here by Hero as its opposite.’
    • ‘For Morrison, however, while troping her predecessors' unhomed terror, vertigo becomes a zone of potentiality offering rehabituation in a diasporic landscape that affirms the dislocated and untranslatable aspects of diaspora.’
    • ‘The poetic, as I remarked earlier, is not, for Wittgenstein, a question of heightening, of removing language from its everyday use by means of appropriate troping or rhetorical device.’
    • ‘In other words, the natural world becomes visible only to the extent that it has been colored; that is, troped by our desire, which denaturalizes it, turns it into the trope through which it signifies itself.’
    • ‘The disembodied voice of echo is troped as feminine because of its emptiness, its belatedness, and its inability to signify except in relation to an already established discourse.’


Mid 16th century via Latin from Greek tropos ‘turn, way, trope’, from trepein ‘to turn’.