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[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.
Origin of tropical
1520-30; tropic + -al1
Related forms
tropicality, noun
tropically, adverb
hypertropical, adjective
nontropical, adjective
nontropically, adverb
untropical, adjective
untropically, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for tropical
  • The market is now glutted with tropical fruits of all kinds.
  • In this lesson students will learn about different kinds of tropical storms throughout the world.
  • tropical cyclones remain nature's fiercest storms.
  • Every evening, as twilight blankets the tropical world, the air grows thick with disease on the wing.
  • Fruit bats are important seed dispersers in tropical forests.
  • tropical sprue is a condition seen in residents of, or visitors to, tropical areas.
  • Such a system would not aim, as a matter of principle, to stop all tropical deforestation.
  • Most are found in tropical and subtropical ocean waters, but some species live in brackish and even fresh water.
  • tropical accessories on the deck and throughout the garden turned this entry into a personal paradise.
  • Findings in northern regions of preserved hippo predecessors, tropical plankton and pollen from tropical palms support the idea.
British Dictionary definitions for tropical


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 Forms
tropicality, noun
tropically, 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 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
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