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topic

[top-ik]
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noun
  1. a subject of conversation or discussion: to provide a topic for discussion.
  2. the subject or theme of a discourse or of one of its parts.
  3. Rhetoric, Logic. a general field of considerations from which arguments can be drawn.
  4. Also called theme. Linguistics. the part of a sentence that announces the item about which the rest of the sentence communicates information, often signaled by initial position in the sentence or by a grammatical marker.Compare comment(def 7).
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Origin of topic

1560–70; < Latin topica (plural) < Greek () topiká name of work by Aristotle (literally, (things) pertaining to commonplaces), equivalent to tóp(os) commonplace + -ika, neuter plural of -ikos -ic; see topo-

Synonyms

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2. thesis, subject matter. See subject.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for topic

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • In close connexion with the Survey and Lands Department is the topic of exploration.

  • Young Hiram had no patience with one's profession as a topic of conversation.

  • Each time she got on this topic I cut her short, vowing that if I ever married she only should be my wife.

    Green Mansions

    W. H. Hudson

  • No word on this topic has ever passed between Mr Henry Gowan and myself.'

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

  • You, Amy—hum—you alone and only you—constantly revive the topic, though not in words.'

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens


British Dictionary definitions for topic

topic

noun
  1. a subject or theme of a speech, essay, book, etc
  2. a subject of conversation; item of discussion
  3. (in rhetoric, logic, etc) a category or class of arguments or ideas which may be drawn on to furnish proofs
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Word Origin

C16: from Latin topica translating Greek ta topika, literally: matters relating to commonplaces, title of a treatise by Aristotle, from topoi, pl of topos place, commonplace
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for topic

n.

1630s, "argument suitable for debate," singular form of "Topics" (1560s), the name of a work by Aristotle on logical and rhetorical generalities, from Latin Topica, from Greek Ta Topika, literally "matters concerning topoi," from topoi "commonplaces," neuter plural of topikos "commonplace, of a place," from topos "place" (see topos). The meaning "matter treated in speech or writing, subject, theme" is first recorded 1720.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper