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[top-i-kuh l] /ˈtɒp ɪ kəl/
pertaining to or dealing with matters of current or local interest:
a topical reference.
pertaining to the subject of a discourse, composition, or the like.
of a place; local.
Medicine/Medical. of, relating to, or applied externally to a particular part of the body; local:
a topical anesthetic.
Philately. any of a collection of different stamps treating the same subject.
Origin of topical
1580-90; < Greek topik(ós) local, pertaining to commonplaces (see topo-, -ic) + -al1
Related forms
topically, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for topical
  • Most healthy patients receive either a local injection or topical anesthetic.
  • topical medications are those applied only to the surface of the body.
  • topical subjects such as climate change and genetic engineering are given particular attention.
  • More relevant and topical than ever, it is a powerful tool for forward-thinking readers.
  • Yes, there are topical applications that mask the odor emanating from your kicks.
  • Please respect my request to keep the conversation useful, productive and topical.
  • EA injected a topical morality play of a plot centering on the dangers of military privatization and war for profit.
  • Over-the-counter topical anesthetics may provide modest relief.
  • The plan is to record the topical shows late in the afternoon or evening, so that they are ready for download each morning.
  • The dentist may apply a topical anesthetic to numb the area before beginning the procedure.
British Dictionary definitions for topical


of, relating to, or constituting current affairs
relating to a particular place; local
of or relating to a topic or topics
(of a drug, ointment, etc) for application to the body surface; local
Derived Forms
topicality (ˌtɒpɪˈkælɪtɪ) noun
topically, 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 topical

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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topical in Medicine

topical top·i·cal (tŏp'ĭ-kəl)
Of or applied to a definite or localized area of the body.

top'i·cal·ly adv.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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