[ trop-i-kuh l for 1–4, 6; troh-pi-kuh l for 5 ]
/ ˈtrɒp ɪ kəl for 1–4, 6; ˈtroʊ pɪ kəl for 5 /


pertaining to, characteristic of, occurring in, or inhabiting the tropics, especially the humid tropics: tropical flowers.
very hot and humid: a tropical climate.
designed for use in the tropics or in very hot weather (often used in combination): tropical-weight woolens.
of or relating to either or both of the astronomical tropics.
pertaining to, characterized by, or of the nature of a trope or tropes; metaphorical.


tropicals, lightweight clothing, suitable for warm, especially summer weather.

Nearby words

  1. tropia,
  2. tropic,
  3. tropic bird,
  4. tropic of cancer,
  5. tropic of capricorn,
  6. tropical abscess,
  7. tropical acne,
  8. tropical anemia,
  9. tropical aquarium,
  10. tropical bubo

Origin of tropical

First recorded in 1520–30; tropic + -al1

Related forms Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tropical

British Dictionary definitions for tropical


/ (ˈtrɒpɪkəl) /


situated in, used in, characteristic of, or relating to the tropics
(of weather) very hot, esp when humid
rhetoric of or relating to a trope
Derived Formstropicality, nountropically, 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 tropical



1520s, "pertaining to the celestial tropics," from tropic + -al (1). In reference to the torrid zones of the earth, from 1690s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper