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[tuh-pog-ruh-fee] /təˈpɒg rə fi/
noun, plural topographies.
the detailed mapping or charting of the features of a relatively small area, district, or locality.
the detailed description, especially by means of surveying, of particular localities, as cities, towns, or estates.
the relief features or surface configuration of an area.
the features, relations, or configuration of a structural entity.
a schema of a structural entity, as of the mind, a field of study, or society, reflecting a division into distinct areas having a specific relation or a specific position relative to one another.
Origin of topography
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English topographye < Late Latin topographia < Greek topographía. See topo-, -graphy
Related forms
[top-uh-graf-ik] /ˌtɒp əˈgræf ɪk/ (Show IPA),
topographical, adjective
topographically, adverb
nontopographical, adjective
untopographical, adjective
untopographically, adverb
Can be confused
topography, typography. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for topographical


noun (pl) -phies
the study or detailed description of the surface features of a region
the detailed mapping of the configuration of a region
the land forms or surface configuration of a region
the surveying of a region's surface features
the study or description of the configuration of any object
Derived Forms
topographer, noun
topographic (ˌtɒpəˈɡræfɪk), topographical, adjective
topographically, adverb
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 topographical



early 15c., from Late Latin topographia, from Greek topographia "a description of a place," from topographos "describing a place" (as a noun, "one who is skilled in topography"), from topos "place" (see topos) + graphein "to write" (see -graphy).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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topographical in Medicine

topography to·pog·ra·phy (tə-pŏg'rə-fē)
The description of the regions of the body or of a body part, especially the regions of a definite and limited area of the surface.

top'o·graph'ic (-grāf'ĭk) or top'o·graph'i·cal (-ĭ-kəl) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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topographical in Science
  1. The three-dimensional arrangement of physical attributes (such as shape, height, and depth) of a land surface in a place or region. Physical features that make up the topography of an area include mountains, valleys, plains, and bodies of water. Human-made features such as roads, railroads, and landfills are also often considered part of a region's topography.

  2. The detailed description or drawing of the physical features of a place or region, especially in the form of contour maps.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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