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[top-ik] /ˈtɒp ɪk/
a subject of conversation or discussion:
to provide a topic for discussion.
the subject or theme of a discourse or of one of its parts.
Rhetoric, Logic. a general field of considerations from which arguments can be drawn.
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).
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-
2. thesis, subject matter. See subject. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for topic
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "It is," took up LeBeau, in haste to air his opinions on that topic.

    Max Fargus Owen Johnson
  • They were evidently engaged in the discussion of some topic of interest when I entered.

    Up the River Oliver Optic
  • Trumbull, however, asserts that it was he who suggested the topic to Pope.

  • Why should Guilford forbid the topic as though its discussion were painful to Wayne?

    Iole Robert W. Chambers
  • His earliest biographer, Arthur Murphy, writing in 1762, is more explicit than usual on this topic.

British Dictionary definitions for topic


a subject or theme of a speech, essay, book, etc
a subject of conversation; item of discussion
(in rhetoric, logic, etc) a category or class of arguments or ideas which may be drawn on to furnish proofs
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
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Word Origin and History for topic

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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