[ tuh-pog-ruh-fee ]
See synonyms for: topographytopographical 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.

  1. the relief features or surface configuration of an area.

  2. the features, relations, or configuration of a structural entity.

  3. 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

First recorded in 1400–50; late Middle English topographye, from Late Latin topographia, from Greek topographía; see topo-, -graphy

Other words from topography

  • top·o·graph·ic [top-uh-graf-ik], /ˌtɒp əˈgræf ɪk/, top·o·graph·i·cal, adjective

Words that may be confused with topography

Words Nearby topography Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use topography in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for topography


/ (təˈpɒɡrəfɪ) /

nounplural -phies
  1. the study or detailed description of the surface features of a region

  2. the detailed mapping of the configuration of a region

  1. the land forms or surface configuration of a region

  2. the surveying of a region's surface features

  3. the study or description of the configuration of any object

Derived forms of topography

  • topographer, noun
  • topographic (ˌtɒpəˈɡræfɪk) or 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

Scientific definitions for topography


[ tə-pŏgrə-fē ]

  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.