a recurring idea or theme


trope = etwas wie ein Thema, eine Idee oder ein Bild, das häufig in den Medien, in der Literatur oder in der Kunst verwendet wird



“Antisemitic TROPES are back on stage again. The Lehman Trilogy is an enthralling and acclaimed play. But, as it returns to London, we should discuss the profound problem at its core.”

Dave Rich - The Guardian (26th February 2023)

“11 Fantasy TROPES That Will Never Get Old. Fantasy is one of the most popular genres within media, and it comes with several TROPES that fans have loved since the beginning.”

Madison McKeever - GameRant (16th April 2022)

Did you


- a word or expression used in a figurative sense

- something such as an idea, phrase, or image that is often used in a particular artist's work, in a particular type of art, in the media, etc.

Merriam-Webster / The Cambridge Dictionary


The word "trope" first appeared in English around the mid-16th century. It was derived from the Latin word tropus, which means "figure of speech" and the Greek word tropos, meaning "a turn, direction, or change."

The term originally referred to a figure of speech in rhetoric but has since evolved to encompass recurring themes, images, or devices in literature and other forms of media.

So, a "tropism" is a tendency to lean towards something. For example, phototropic plants grow towards the sun, and hydrotropic plants grow towards moisture.


- The Hero's Journey: A protagonist goes on an adventure, faces and overcomes a crisis, and then returns home transformed.

- The Chosen One: A seemingly ordinary character is revealed to have a unique destiny or is the key to solving a major problem.

- The Mentor: An experienced character guides, trains, or teaches the protagonist, often providing crucial advice or assistance.

- The Doppelgänger: A character encounters a double or lookalike, often with sinister or mysterious intentions.

- The False Utopia: A seemingly perfect world or society that, upon closer examination, is revealed to be flawed or oppressive, often serving as a cautionary tale or critique of contemporary society.

- The Rags to Riches: A character who begins in a low social or economic position rises to success, wealth, or happiness through hard work, luck, or the help of others.

- The Best Friends: Two characters who share an exceptionally close bond, often providing emotional support and serving as each other's confidant throughout the story.

- The Fish out of Water: A character finds themselves in an unfamiliar environment or situation, leading to humorous or dramatic situations as they adapt and learn.

- The Team of Misfits: A diverse group of individuals, each with their own unique skills and flaws, come together to achieve a common goal, often overcoming personal differences and forming lasting friendships.


- something recurring across a genre or type of art or literature

adage, allegory, allusion, analogy, aphorism, archetype, cliché, figure of speech, leitmotif, metaphor, motif, notion, parallelism, parable, parody, personification, proverb, recurrent image, recurring theme, simile, stereotype, symbol, TROPE, theme, unifying idea

SMUGGLE OWAD into an English conversation, say something like:

“What's your favourite TROPE? What's the thing that you naturally lean towards, that makes you perk up and get excited?”

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