Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A traditional theme or motif; a literary convention.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A literary theme or motif; a rhetorical convention or formula.
  • n. A certain mathematical structure found in category theory.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a traditional theme or motif or literary convention

Etymologies

Greek, short for (koinos) topos, (common)place.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Ancient Greek τόπος (topos, "place"). Compare topic. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Aristotle says: “we must find the location (topos) from which to attack,” where the word ˜topos™ is obviously used to mean a starting point for attacking the theses of the opponents.

    Aristotle's Rhetoric

  • The notion of topos is due for a revival, especially if we are to consider seriously the recuperation of sentimental poetry and the many women poets who do not invest in the masculinised rhetorics of anti-rhetoric proffered in the Lyrical Ballads model of Romantic-period literary history.

    _Queen Mab_ as Topological Repertoire

  • In addition, help was offered by a search-and-rescue group called "topos" -- (moles) -- organized by youths who dug through collapsed buildings after Mexico City's 1985 earthquake.

    Maggie Van Ostrand: What You Don't Know About Mexico

  • Very roughly, a topos is a category possessing a logical structure sufficiently rich to develop most of

    Category Theory

  • The inscription found on a portico base was identified as a topos inscription by Professor Dennis Feissel in Paris -- "pro teketai [iu] lianou," or "the place reserved for [Ju] lian."

    Interactive Dig Sagalassos - N-S Colonnaded Street Report 4

  • Now a topos is a motif which takes the form of a literary commonplace or rhetorical set-piece: e.g., the comparison between nature and a book or between the world and the theater.

    MOTIF

  • 7 This topos has been a subject of well known investigations from Ernst R. Curtius, European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages (Princeton 1967), 319-326, to Jacques Derrida, Of

    Plotnitsky, Notes

  • When English lawyer Sir Thomas More--a devout Roman Catholic--coined the word "utopia" to describe his imaginary island nation in the early 16th century, it was a play on the Greek eu-topos, meaning "good place" and ou-topos, meaning "no place".

    Forbes Faces Of The Week: Feb. 27-Mar. 3, 2006Faces Of The Week: Feb. 27-Mar. 3, 2006

  • These are "topos" ( "place") inscriptions followed by a name in the possessive case, which gave official authorization to a particular salesman to use this spot.

    Interactive Dig Sagalassos - Upper Agora Report 1

  • So it appears that Percy Shelley developed an oppositional poetics which pitted one kind of topos against another.

    _Queen Mab_ as Topological Repertoire

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