• synonyms


[top-i-kuh l]
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  1. pertaining to or dealing with matters of current or local interest: a topical reference.
  2. pertaining to the subject of a discourse, composition, or the like.
  3. of a place; local.
  4. Medicine/Medical. of, relating to, or applied externally to a particular part of the body; local: a topical anesthetic.
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  1. Philately. any of a collection of different stamps treating the same subject.
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Origin of topical

1580–90; < Greek topik(ós) local, pertaining to commonplaces (see topo-, -ic) + -al1
Related formstop·i·cal·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for topically


  1. of, relating to, or constituting current affairs
  2. relating to a particular place; local
  3. of or relating to a topic or topics
  4. (of a drug, ointment, etc) for application to the body surface; local
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Derived Formstopicality (ˌtɒpɪˈkælɪtɪ), nountopically, 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

Word Origin and History for topically



1580s, from topic + -al (1). Medical sense is from c.1600. Meaning "of or pertaining to topics of the day" is from 1873.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

topically in Medicine


  1. Of or applied to a definite or localized area of the body.
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Related formstopi•cal•ly adv.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.