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[top-ik] /ˈtɒp ɪk/
a subject of conversation or discussion:
to provide a topic for discussion.
the subject or theme of a discourse or of one of its parts.
Rhetoric, Logic. a general field of considerations from which arguments can be drawn.
Also called theme. Linguistics. the part of a sentence that announces the item about which the rest of the sentence communicates information, often signaled by initial position in the sentence or by a grammatical marker.
Compare comment (def 7).
1560-70; < Latin topica (plural) < Greek () topiká name of work by Aristotle (literally, (things) pertaining to commonplaces), equivalent to tóp(os) commonplace + -ika, neuter plural of -ikos -ic; see topo-
2. thesis, subject matter. See subject. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for topics
  • topics will also include mushroom cultivation, and how to make spore prints to identify mushroom species.
  • In such cases topics are often chosen more by the adviser than by the student.
  • But, in his treatment of the law of nature, he enters upon topics which are common to him and the philosophers.
  • These familiar topics became full of a new vitality under his pen.
  • We now find fiction and poetry predominating, and topics of the times treated without academic pretension.
  • In this piece, he expatiates upon the common topics of the writers in the same cause, with great warmth and spirit.
  • We keep telling ourselves these things, and talking with animation on other topics.
  • His topics and his training being such as they were, his rare endowments are manifested in the manner of his treatment.
  • It is rare that such topics have formed the burden of communications with the department of state.
  • Each of these topics needs a lecture for its development.
British Dictionary definitions for topics


a subject or theme of a speech, essay, book, etc
a subject of conversation; item of discussion
(in rhetoric, logic, etc) a category or class of arguments or ideas which may be drawn on to furnish proofs
Word Origin
C16: from Latin topica translating Greek ta topika, literally: matters relating to commonplaces, title of a treatise by Aristotle, from topoi, pl of topos place, commonplace
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 topics



1630s, "argument suitable for debate," singular form of "Topics" (1560s), the name of a work by Aristotle on logical and rhetorical generalities, from Latin Topica, from Greek Ta Topika, literally "matters concerning topoi," from topoi "commonplaces," neuter plural of topikos "commonplace, of a place," from topos "place" (see topos). The meaning "matter treated in speech or writing, subject, theme" is first recorded 1720.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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