See more synonyms for topography on
noun, plural to·pog·ra·phies.
  1. the detailed mapping or charting of the features of a relatively small area, district, or locality.
  2. the detailed description, especially by means of surveying, of particular localities, as cities, towns, or estates.
  3. the relief features or surface configuration of an area.
  4. the features, relations, or configuration of a structural entity.
  5. 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

1400–50; late Middle English topographye < Late Latin topographia < Greek topographía. See topo-, -graphy
Related formstop·o·graph·ic [top-uh-graf-ik] /ˌtɒp əˈgræf ɪk/, top·o·graph·i·cal, adjectivetop·o·graph·i·cal·ly, adverbnon·top·o·graph·i·cal, adjectiveun·top·o·graph·i·cal, adjectiveun·top·o·graph·i·cal·ly, adverb
Can be confusedtopography typography Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for topography


noun plural -phies
  1. the study or detailed description of the surface features of a region
  2. the detailed mapping of the configuration of a region
  3. the land forms or surface configuration of a region
  4. the surveying of a region's surface features
  5. the study or description of the configuration of any object
Derived Formstopographer, nountopographic (ˌtɒpəˈɡræfɪk) or topographical, adjectivetopographically, 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 topography

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

topography in Medicine


  1. 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.
Related formstop′o•graphic (-grăfĭk) null adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

topography 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 © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.