topical

adjective
top·​i·​cal | \ ˈtä-pi-kəl \

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 \ 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

Depending on how your dermatologist advises applying it, these can be prescribed in topical or shampoo form. Sam Escobar, Good Housekeeping, "5 Dandruff Treatments That Actually Work, According to Dermatologists," 13 Dec. 2018 Trade, ever more topical with Mr. Trump’s steady attacks on the unfair global order, emerged as one area where the EU could assert itself amid rising global protectionism. Emre Peker, WSJ, "Europe and Japan’s Cheese-for-Cars Trade Deal to Launch Next Year," 12 Dec. 2018 Treatment typically involves an antibiotic, either through a topical gel or oral medication, and can be cleared up within a week in most cases. Samantha Lefave, Redbook, "Why You Should Never Ignore Sweet-Smelling Urine (or These Other Body Odors)," 3 Aug. 2018 Also, prolonged use of topical steroids like hydrocortisone has been shown to cause skin thinning, increased skin fragility, enlarged blood vessels, and can even result in problems with your adrenal gland (the natural steroid producer in the body). Shannon Romanowski, SELF, "Does Preparation H Actually Help Treat Puffy Eyes?," 28 Dec. 2018 This topical focus created startups that seemed a lot more relevant than a new meal delivery service. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "How a Midwest startup generator bursts the Bay Area tech bubble and solves real problems," 12 Dec. 2018 This could all change if a new topical gel birth control for men makes it through clinical trials, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and announced this week. Alexis Jones, Marie Claire, "This New Topical Gel Birth Control For Men Could Change Everything," 30 Nov. 2018 While it's well known that topical treatments can have a skin brightening effect, scientists are now digging into the efficacy of supplements. Amy Capetta, Woman's Day, "5 Anti-Aging Supplements That May Actually Work," 16 Oct. 2018 Some reported needing fewer topical steroid applications to control their symptoms. Ian Myles, CNN, "A possible new weapon against eczema: live bacteria," 17 May 2018

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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Last Updated

23 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for topical

The first known use of topical was circa 1525

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More Definitions for topical

topical

adjective

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

topical

adjective
top·​i·​cal | \ ˈtäp-i-kəl \

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 \ 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

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