top·​i·​cal | \ ˈtä-pi-kəl How to pronounce topical (audio) \

Definition of topical

1a : referring to the topics of the day or place : of local or temporary interest a topical novel topical references
b : of, relating to, or arranged by topics set down in topical form
2 : designed for or involving local application and action (as on the body) a topical anesthetic a topical remedy

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Other Words from topical

topically \ ˈtä-​pi-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce topically (audio) \ adverb

Did You Know?

Like a topical medicine, a topical reference or story applies to something specific, focusing on a topic that's currently in the news. TV comedians often use topical humor, making jokes about a currently popular movie or the latest political scandal—if possible, one that just broke that same day. Topical humor has a short lifespan, though, because the news keeps changing and the new hot topics just keep coming. The medical meaning of topical stays closer to the meaning of the root, since it describes something that's put right on the place that seems to need it.

Examples of topical in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Fortunately, applying a topical estrogen cream, available by prescription from your doctor, often helps. Christine Yu,, "7 Things Every Woman Should Know About UTIs," 7 Nov. 2019 That could also include acne-fighting products containing things like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, Dr. Cheng says, as well as topical steroid creams to manage bug bites or sunburns. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, "9 Easy Tips for Healthy, Happy Skin While Traveling," 25 Oct. 2019 Aklief is the brand name for a topical cream that contains a molecule called trifarotene, which is the first new retinoid to hit the market in two decades. Rebecca Dancer, Allure, "Aklief, a New Retinoid for Both Facial and Body Acne, Was Just Approved by the FDA," 9 Oct. 2019 Likely, a skin improvement is due to additional ingredients in your topical cream or simply additional proline, an amino acid found in collagen. Brooke Russell, Quartzy, "Drinking collagen has health benefits—but don’t put it in your coffee," 5 Oct. 2019 But dispensaries like hers also sell THC-free products, like patches or topical creams that contain CBD. Lila Maclellan, Quartz at Work, "Six cannabis CEOs talked to us about how they use weed," 4 Oct. 2019 At least one of their experiments to determine whether a topical testosterone cream would result in a positive doping test was done in a lab at Nike's headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon, the reports alleged. Kate Gibson, CBS News, "Alberto Salazar updated Nike CEO on trials with banned drugs, anti-doping agency says," 1 Oct. 2019 Swisa said the first applications will likely be targeted to treat psoriasis in a topical cream. NBC News, "Cannabis research pioneer hopes latest discovery is not overlooked — again," 26 Sep. 2019 Use preventives like topical creams, chewable tablets or injectables. Caitlin Anderson, Twin Cities, "Heartworm risks for Minnesota pets rise. Here are ways to protect your dogs and cats.," 23 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'topical.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of topical

circa 1525, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

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Statistics for topical

Last Updated

13 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for topical

The first known use of topical was circa 1525

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More Definitions for topical


How to pronounce topical (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of topical

: relating to current news or events : dealing with things that are important, popular, etc., right now
medical : made to be put on the skin


top·​i·​cal | \ ˈtäp-i-kəl How to pronounce topical (audio) \

Medical Definition of topical

: designed for or involving application to or action on the surface of a part of the body applied a topical anesthetic to numb the skin eyedrops used in the topical treatment of glaucoma

Other Words from topical

topically \ -​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce topically (audio) \ adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on topical

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with topical

Spanish Central: Translation of topical

Nglish: Translation of topical for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of topical for Arabic Speakers

Comments on topical

What made you want to look up topical? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


not being in agreement or harmony

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