The term trope derives from the Greek τρόπος (tropos), "turn, direction, way", related to the root of the verb τρέπειν (trepein), "to turn, to direct, to alter, to change". In most English meanings a trope describes a convention for one or more types of embellishment in art, language, music or other medium of communication.
In literature a trope is the use of figurative language, or a figure of speech, or something recurring across a genre or type of creative work. Although in linguistics they are a rhetorical figure of speech that consists of a play on words.
In film and television, tropes are blatantly manipulative and shopworn elements (e.g., plot twists, stereotypical characters or situations, camera and editing techniques, et al.) that have become so conventionalized that they are instantly recognized as storytelling cliches.
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