trope [troʊp] n.
1.) Rhet. A figure of speech which consists in the use of a word or phrase in a sense other than that which is proper to it; also, in casual use, a figure of speech; figurative language.
2.) In Gregorian Music, A short distinctive cadence at the close of a melody. Obs.
3.) [= Gr. τροπή.] The ‘turning’ of the sun at the tropic; also = Geog. Each of two parallels of latitude on the earth's surface (corresponding to the celestial circles, 1 b, and called likewise tropic of Cancer and tropic of Capricorn), distant about 23° 28′ north and south of the equator, being the boundaries of the torrid zone. Obs. rare.
4.) Logic. Any one of the classes into which each of the four ‘figures’ of valid categorical syllogisms is subdivided on the ground of the several ways in which syllogisms differ with regard to the quality and quantity of their constituent propositions.
5.) In the Western Church, A phrase, sentence, or verse introduced as an embellishment into some part of the text of the mass or of the breviary office that is sung by the choir. (Tropes were discontinued at the revision of the missal under Pope Pius V in the 16th cent.)
6.) In the Moravian Church, one of the three divisions forming the ‘Unity of the Brethren’.
7.) In Greek Philosophy, one of ten procedures that were intended to contain the means of refuting dogmatism in all possible forms, and to provide directions for stating every line of available argument which could lead to negative conclusions and paralyse assent.
8.) Geom. The reciprocal of a node on a curve or surface; in different cases, a multiple tangent or tangent plane, or a plane or developable surface touching the given surface in a particular way (O.E.D. 2nd Ed.).
Etymology: Latin tropus, from Greek tropos, turn, figure of speech.
"Aesthetic authority and creative power are tropes too, but what they substitute forcall it "the canonical"has a roughly quantifiable aspect, which is to say that William Shakespeare wrote thirty-eight plays, twenty-four of them masterpieces, but social energy has never written a single scene. The death of the author is a trope, and a rather pernicious one; the life of the author is a quantifiable entity" (The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages, Harold Bloom, 1994).
Sorry about the long post today. I was only aware of the first definition, but thought the rest were interesting, particularly the origin of the word "tropical". There seems to be enough interest to try the weekly contest, so let's start on Monday. I thought it would be appropriate to give a book as a prize, but I can't really give away one every week. Perhaps a running scoreboard and the first to 5 wins gets a book? What do you guys think?