Tag Archives: examples

Acrostic

Acrostic: When the first letters of successive lines are arranged either in alphabetical order (= abecedarian) or in such a way as to spell a word.

MITCH

Meager

Intellect

Tying

Congress’s

Hands


Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

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Apocarteresis

Apocarteresis (a-po-car-ter’-e-sis): Casting of all hope away from one thing and placing it on another source altogether.


Rubik’s Cube. Its popularity took off like a jumbo jet from a golden runway. Everybody had one. Twisting. Twisting. Twisting. People couldn’t stop—it was like they were on a treadmill set somehow beyond the speed of sound, plastic almost melting, twisting colored segments in a blur. People started getting wrist injuries, having marital problems, becoming agoraphobes, and losing their jobs for lack of attendance and playing with their Rubik’s Cubes on the job, either blatantly at their work stations, or in the restroom. One bus driver drove off a bridge. Thank God his bus was empty! Too bad for the driver.

All this and more led to the Rubik’s cube’s declining popularity. They sat on the shelves, unpurchased. They were selling for pennies on the dollar at wholesale venues. I had just taken a course in entrepreneurism at Trump University and was ready to make some fast cash according to what I had learned. Buy cheap, sell high. I invested everything I had in discounted Rubik’s Cubes, believing they would make a quick comeback.

My garage was filled to the rafters with them. I rented a warehouse that was filled too. I sat on them for years while I continued work at CVS and hope. But the Cubes were going nowhere: I couldn’t unload them for my cost. I just didn’t see the handwriting on the wall when I cornered the market. All I could see was “buy cheap, sell high.” Finally, after weeks of anguishing, I decided to do something: to stop waiting for something that would never happen. But what would I do?

It was time to turn my pain into gain—to break from past, sitting on the cubes like they were going to hatch. Staying up late, hardly eating, working like a dog, I determined by experimenting that if you Superglue Rubik’s Cubes together in just the right way, you can make them into lamps, footstools, picture frames, bars, headboards, dining room tables, and even couches.

My attempt at making my first couch ended in disaster. I spilled an entire jumbo-sized tube of Superglue all over my hand and then went to pick up the sofa I was finishing. My entire hand bonded to the couch’s underside. Me and the couch had to go to the emergency room together in a panel truck. They joked about amputating my hand. That made me mad. Anyway, they got my hand unglued with solvent. I told them I would give them the Rubik’s Couch—my first couch—for all of their help. All the staff laughed at me, and the chief nurse told me to “get that ridiculous piece of crap out of here.” I took a cab to U-Haul, drove back to the hospital, and paid a couple of orderlies to help me load my Rubik’s Couch. When I got home, I pulled the couch out of the back of the U-Haul and dragged it into the garage.

Then it happened!

Lady Gaga and Jimmy Carter endorsed my Rubik’s Furniture. Sales went crazy. I have hired 10 glue-men to assemble the furniture. I own most of the world’s Rubik’s Cubes, so I’m set. “Ruby-Cubey-Doo” is one of the most successful furniture businesses in the word, selling 500,000 Rubik units per year. I am rich.


Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)

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Articulus

Articulus (ar-tic’-u-lus): Roughly equivalent to “phrase” in English, except that the emphasis is on joining several phrases (or words) successively without any conjunctions (in which case articulus is simply synonymous with the Greek term asyndeton). See also brachylogia.

Articulus is also best understood in terms of differing speeds of style that depend upon the length of the elements of a sentence. The Ad Herennium author contrasts the the slower speed of concatenated membra (see membrum) to the quicker speed possible via articulus.


Left, right, left. Left, right, left. Marching, marching, marching, marching. Hup, two, three, four. What are we marching for? Courage? Redemption? Clarity? Connection? Where are we going? What’s the point? People die. Birds fly. People cry. Babies smile and say “Bye, bye.”

All the big questions can’t be answered with certainty, only with hope, fear, charity, cynicism, music, poetry; fervently, fearfully, recklessly. The game is rigged. The diseases rage. Injustice is rampant. Truth is flat on its back. Rittenhouse is free. What about you and me?


Definition and commentary courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

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Coenotes

Coenotes (cee’-no-tees): Repetition of two different phrases: one at the beginning and the other at the end of successive paragraphs. Note: Composed of anaphora and epistrophe, coenotes is simply a more specific kind of symploce (the repetition of phrases, not merely words).


Your moods remind of the sky. Cloudy. Clear. Boundless. Ubiquitous. Blue. Black. Filled with stars, bolts of lightning, and flocks of screaming birds: you are a force of nature.

Your moods remind me of the sky. As always, I stand underneath the vault of your shifting sensibilities, looking up and watching you, like a brother watches a sister, or an enemy watches a friend. Hesitant. Hurrying. Distant. Close. Tangled in hope and fear, netted, and hoisted, and dumped on a slippery deck. Flopping around, waiting to be rescued by your smile. But, you don’t even know I’m there. You don’t care. I am not a part of your life. Yet, you penetrate my soul like a poem, or a Bible verse, and hit my skin like the burning rays of the sun. You are a force of nature.

Your moods remind me of the sky. Their distance assuages my shyness, but my shyness is a curse. Contained by thoughts rarely voiced: a head full of dialogues with no place to go. No warmth. No touch. Going solo. Lying about the benefits of being alone. Aching inside like a victim or the bearer of a terminal disease. Praying for a conversation with another human being. But I am thwarted by my own silence; my own shyness: to be shy is a curse, but you sing and dance, and smile a laugh. You are like an earthquake, shaking your world. You are a force of nature.


Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

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Consonance

Consonance: The repetition of consonants in words stressed in the same place (but whose vowels differ). Also, a kind of inverted alliteration, in which final consonants, rather than initial or medial ones, repeat in nearby words. Consonance is more properly a term associated with modern poetics than with historical rhetorical terminology.


He lives by his wits. His head is a nest of nits. He resists taking showers. He thinks they waste his precious hours. Accordingly, he smells like a stool, and he actually thinks that’s very cool. He lives a shabby immoral life. Right now, he’s probably thinking about stealing your wife. Fat chance you say. But did you see who he was with yesterday?

Marjorie Greene!

Together, they made the scene. They went rat hunting at the Baltimore City Dump. He was packing a .12 gauge pump. Marjorie had an AR-15, a Glock, and a Ruger .357. She was clearly in Heaven. Her eyes were glazed. Her face was slack like she was a little dazed.

Then, she fired at a rat, what she called a stand-in for a Democrat. The rat ran away unscathed. That’s how those ‘Democrat’ rats always behaved.

Oh! You may be wondering: “Who was the smelly, immoral man with head lice?” I am not permitted by the government agency I work for to tell you. However, I can give you a hint. His first name rhymes with “weave” and his last name rhymes with “canon.”

Please do not try to contact me.


Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)

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Epanorthosis

Epanorthosis (ep-an-or-tho’-sis): Amending a first thought by altering it to make it stronger or more vehement.


Every time I look at you I see shining doves flying toward the future—no no—what I see are golden butterflies fluttering through a purple haze toward Buddha’s third eye: the all-seeing eye that gazes inwardly contemplating Samsara and the non-beginning of all that is endless.

I hope my vision of you is not too heavy to bear. I see myself as a garden tool, destined by our entwined Karma to cultivate your awakening and facilitate your flourishing as you follow the Noble Eightfold Path and become a vegetarian pacifist like Stephen Colbert or Dolly Parton. Laughter and music are keys to the door of Enlightenment. Ha ha. Jolene.


Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)

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Metalepsis

Metalepsis (me-ta-lep’-sis): Reference to something by means of another thing that is remotely related to it, either through a farfetched causal relationship, or through an implied intermediate substitution of terms. Often used for comic effect through its preposterous exaggeration. A metonymical substitution of one word for another which is itself figurative.


Your tongue is mightier than the spoon. It’s like there are professional wrestlers doing battling inside your mouth. Who will win? The peas or the carrots? Crazy meal! Your dinner’s but a load of freight packed between your jaws.


Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

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Metaplasm

Metaplasm (met’-a-plazm): A general term for orthographical figures (changes to the spelling of words). This includes alteration of the letters or syllables in single words, including additions, omissions, inversions, and substitutions. Such changes are considered conscious choices made by the artist or orator for the sake of eloquence or meter, in contrast to the same kinds of changes done accidentally and discussed by grammarians as vices (see barbarism). See: antisthecon, aphaeresis, apocope, epenthesis, paragoge, synaloepha.


I had high hopes for our romance, but our love has turned into leave. You don’t listen to me. You don’t talk to me. We stay three feet apart. You go out every night. You come home at 4.00 a.m. smelling of gin and cigarettes. We don’t eat together. We don’t go out. No sex. We might as well have separate lives—stupid solo-ites sitting at a bar with a glass full of blues and a bitter heart looking for love again. I am damnfounded as to how it all fell apart.


Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

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Metastasis

Metastasis (me-tas’-ta-sis): Denying and turning back on your adversaries arguments used against you.


Incite? I think you meant insight. This is what I think: Your hearings are doing the inciting. As patriotic Americans hear your lies about the peaceful visitors on a guided tour of the Capitol on January 6th, who were met and ejected from the building by force, by order of Nancy Pelosi, they have become very angry and mistrustful of the federal government’s role in all of this. They might even think the right thing to do at this point is to burn down the Capitol with all the Democrat Representatives, and the two Republican traitors, locked inside.

I’m not inciting anything here today with my remarks, and, by the way, I’m just speculating like you are. You’re running a guessing game, so can I. But my guesses are based in facts. Yours are based in lies about a group of innocent tourists who were violently ejected from the Capitol by overzealous police, who attacked them on orders from Pelosi. She’s the one you should be questioning and charging with crimes against the American people. She’s the one who should go to prison. She’s a disgrace.


Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

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Paralipsis

Paralipsis (par-a-lip’-sis): Stating and drawing attention to something in the very act of pretending to pass it over (see also cataphasis). A kind of irony.


God knows we’ve talked about universal health care enough. It’s not like we haven’t had this conversation—this conversation about raising taxes on the rich—making a micro-scratch on the surface of their glittering wealth, while freeing billions of dollars to save lives and keep us healthy—our eyes, our insides, our teeth—everything!


Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

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Prodiorthosis

Prodiorthosis (pro-di-or-tho’-sis): A statement intended to prepare one’s audience for something shocking or offensive. An extreme example of protherapeia.


Freedom by any means. Justice for all. Sometimes the pursuit of political reform cannot be achieved by the ballot. You heard the noise outside—the yelling, the explosions, the gunfire. Accordingly, reform has taken place. Blood has been spilled. The tyrant is no more. He is dead. His corpse is burning in the town square as I speak. 

Now, we shall return to our democratic roots. The tyrant’s political co-conspirators will be tried and most likely die by being hanged. 

This has been a horrific time in our country’s history. Our democracy is restored. Elections will be held in three months. Go out and spread the word. We are once again the home of freedom and justice for all.


  • Post your own prodiorthosis on the “Comments” page!

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

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Sarcasmus

Sarcasmus (sar’kaz’-mus): Use of mockery, verbal taunts, or bitter irony.


I have been living with you for two years—oh, I should say “dying” with you. Since you’ve dyed your hair like a-shades-of-shit rainbow, I’ve been looking around the house for your brain so I can stuff it back into your head and maybe make you normal again. I might as well be living with a piece of cheese: a reticent wedge of not so sharp cheddar.

I don’t know what happened to you to throw you so far out of character. Maybe it was falling down the stairs? Maybe it was being hit by a car? Maybe it was catching fire at your birthday party? Maybe it was being attacked by a shark and losing your foot? I don’t know, but I am compassionate. You have a month to find yourself.


Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

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Symploce

Symploce (sim’-plo-see or sim’-plo-kee): The combination of anaphora and epistrophe: beginning a series of lines, clauses, or sentences with the same word or phrase while simultaneously repeating a different word or phrase at the end of each element in this series.


There is a garden of light and life growing in my head.

There is a river of imagery and imagination flowing through my head.

There is never a moment of stillness operative in my head.

There it rages. The protean ooze sloshing in my head.


Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)

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Synthesis

Synthesis (sin’-the-sis): An apt arrangement of a composition, especially regarding the sounds of adjoining syllables and words.


Below, coral branches create a corridor of color, casting shadows on white and pink sand indented with ripples like sunken dunes. All I can hear is my slow breathing, tuning my body to the slipping currents. There’s more below me that I want to see, but that will have to wait. I lift my head from the water and swim toward shore.


Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

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Tapinosis

Tapinosis (ta-pi-no’-sis): Giving a name to something which diminishes it in importance.


Where did you get that ping-pong table hanging on the wall? Turn it on so we can watch the last episode of Dallas, or maybe the security cam in the Wal-Mart parking lot.


Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

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Thaumasmus

Thaumasmus (thau-mas’-mus): To marvel at something rather than to state it in a matter of fact way.


It was like a big black hubcap with holes in it hovering over my yard. I had never seen anything like it, silently hanging there, looking at me. I gave it the finger and it flew away. Amazing! Too much! Unbelievable!

Later that day I received an email with a photo of me attached, giving the finger. It was blackmail! You see, I’m a Baptist preacher. Giving the finger is out of bounds. I should’ve known. Ever since I called him out in front of the congregation for cutting back on his tithing, Porky Jones has been out to get me. Somebody let the air out of my tires. Somebody smeared dog poop on my front door. Somebody burned “I heart Satan” into my front lawn.

I had to do something—it was out of hand. I decided to contact my buddy Wild Man Piply from my Army days. He had no soul, so there was nothing there to save. But I had saved his butt too many times to remember: pulled out of pistol fights in sprawling Saigon whorehouses. Loaning him endless cash to cover his gambling debts in totally rigged Saigon casinos. Helping him get out of a scrape over a stolen Jeep. If anybody would help me and keep his mouth shut it was Wild Man Piply.


Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)

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Tmesis

Tmesis (tmee’-sis): Interjecting a word or phrase between parts of a compound word or between syllables of a word.


No more mask. I got my shot so I’m not worrying too much—just a little. This whole thing has been a constant front page buzz—a pan-damn-demic all around the world—nobody spared the possibility of contracting it. We were bolted into our homes going nuts consuming every inch of news—unless we had to work: that was like jumping out of a foxhole and charging the enemy every day. At least we didn’t have to deal with rat flea fever.

We never imagined that this late in the world’s adventure we’d get a plague from cute little Pangolins and have a President who didn’t give a damn if we all died. Thank God we got rid of him, even if he tried to steal the election and overthrow our Democracy. I bid him good riddance along with THE DISEASE. Birds of a feather.


Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

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Topograhpia

Topographia (top-o-graf’-i-a): Description of a place. A kind of enargia [: {en-ar’-gi-a} generic name for a group of figures aiming at vivid, lively description].


She clicked her heels together and said, “There’s no place like Olive Garden.” For some bizarre reason she expected to be transported to the ersatz piece of Italy hunkered in the mall: the epitome of coopted culture draped in a death-defying stereotype embroidered with profit-making glitz.

All the salad you can eat—oh, what an inauthentic touch! Olive Garden doesn’t even meet the standards of a low-budget movie set. From entry to exit—from the plaster portico to the plastic grapes, it’s a middle class muddle of layer fake.


Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu). Bracketed text added by Gorgias.

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Traductio

Traductio (tra-duk’-ti-o): Repeating the same word variously throughout a sentence or thought. Some authorities restrict traductio further to mean repeating the same word but with a different meaning (see ploce, antanaclasis, and diaphora), or in a different form (polyptoton). If the repeated word occurs in parallel fashion at the beginnings of phrases or clauses, it becomes anaphora; at the endings of phrases or clauses, epistrophe.


I couldn’t stop laughing—laughing at the road sign, laughing at the dirty windows, laughing at my laughter like some meta-comic critic assessing “funny’s” final stand. This was beyond funny. It was hilarious. I shouldn’t have left her laughing by the side of the road, but she was eclipsing me, she put me in the shadows, she made me mad. I guess I better go back and pick her up and see if she’s still laughing. If she is, I may run her down.


Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

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Acervatio (ak-er-va’-ti-o): Latin term Quintilian employs for both asyndeton (acervatio dissoluta: a loose heap) and polysyndeton (acervatio iuncta:a conjoined heap).


Asyndeton: the omission of conjunctions between clauses, often resulting in a hurried rhythm or vehement effect.

Hurry up, wait, damn! I can’t make up my mind about anything any more. My choice-making has become a disaster. Yesterday, I started out for the Doctor’s and ended up in a gas station rest room washing my face mask in the sink. This morning, I watched Fox News! What the hell is next? Leave the country by mistake? Shave my head? Awful, awful, awful! I need help!

Hey! Give me back my car keys!

Polysydeton: employing many conjunctions between clauses, often slowing the tempo or rhythm.

I went to the the Blue Boat Bar, and I met a beautiful woman, and I fed her some drinks, and I asked her to go home with me, and she laughed at me and called me pathetic. I don’t even know what “pathetic” means. I guess that makes me pathetic.

All my friends get girls all the time. I’m going to follow one of my friends, and spy on him, and learn his technique, and try it myself! He hangs out at the “Perfumed Sweatshirt.” It costs $60 to get in, but he’s met a lot of girls there. I’m going to disguise myself as a refrigerator repairman so he won’t recognize me, and see how it goes. I wonder if I should carry a toolbox and maybe a can of refrigerant.


Definitions courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

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Acrostic

Acrostic: When the first letters of successive lines are arranged either in alphabetical order (= abecedarian) or in such a way as to spell a word.


SCOTCH

Smooth

Captivating

Oasis,

Truly

Cast

Heavenly


Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

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Adianoeta

Adianoeta: An expression that, in addition to an obvious meaning, carries a second, subtle meaning (often at variance with the ostensible meaning).


We hold a lot of meetings. We gather like a small herd of cows. Cows don’t fight. Cows don’t argue. They are content. But, when you throw a bale of hay on the table, things change: there is a lot of loud mooing and jostling.


Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

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Aetiologia

Aetiologia (ae-ti-o-log’-i-a): A figure of reasoning by which one attributes a cause for a statement or claim made, often as a simple relative clause of explanation.


I am tired of wearing this damn mask, but I am keeping it on because I don’t want get sick, or make anybody else sick.

It is nearly impossible to believe the immature self-righteous ignorance of people refusing to wear a mask! Citing the First Amendment as a reason is like saying that knowingly communicating an STD and infecting another person is an exercise of the transmitter’s First Amendment rights. Bizarre.


Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)

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Aganactesis

Aganactesis (ag’-an-ak-tee’-sis): An exclamation proceeding from deep indignation.


John: Who the hell do you think you are! You’ve crawled into my consciousness like some kind of space worm. I can feel you squirming around in there, it’s my head, my mind you’re playing with.

Jane: Did you take your medication? Sometimes the space worms will crawl in your ears when you’re asleep and you didn’t take your pill before you went to bed.

John: Bullshit! I can hear the worms when I look in your closet. You’re raising them and planting your squirmy little pets in my head so you can listen in on my thoughts; so they can tell you what I’m thinking about! And no, I didn’t take my medication. I forgot and your worms sneaked in. Goddamn you!

Jane: Here, take this pill. It will chase the worms out of your head.

John: Like hell It will. Stick it! Flush it!

Jane: Here, have this piece of cheesecake. It’s your favorite. Remember? Don’t chew it—the flavor comes from swishing it around in your mouth and then swallowing it.

John: Oooh. You found my soft spot—New York cheesecake. This will make me feel better—it never fails. We can deal with the damn mind worms later. Mmmm.


Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

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Alleotheta

Alleotheta (al-le-o-the’-ta): Substitution of one case, gender, mood, number, tense, or person for another. Synonymous with enallage. [Some rhetoricians claim that alleotheta is a] general category that includes antiptosis [(a type of enallage in which one grammatical case is substituted for another)] and all forms of enallage [(the substitution of grammatically different but semantically equivalent constructions)].


We was goin’ to hell faster ‘n anybody could ever think. Stick up men, we having what we want for taking it—pull her out of the cash register, shoot the clerk, and drive off. GPS says there’s a gas station up ahead. Better lock and load Johnny. We need a fill up.


Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)

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