topical

adjective
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

Prescription topical retinoids, like tretinoin, may also be an option recommended by your dermatologist. Allure, "The 14 Best Cystic Acne Treatments, According to Dermatologists," 28 Mar. 2019 As a refresher, most wrinkle creams are filled with your classic retinol or tretinoin, two of the strongest (and potentially irritating) topical retinoids. Chloe Metzger, Marie Claire, "The 5 Truly Excellent Beauty Products I'm Loving This Week," 10 Oct. 2018 Then there were the topical treatments, like the Triple Peptide Eye Cream (whipped and creamy to the touch) and the Acne Spot Treatment. Glamour, "Amazon Just Launched Its Own Skin Care Line, and Everything Is Under $40," 20 Mar. 2019 Using a topical steroid gel, foam, cream, or ointment for two to three weeks will help decrease inflammation and get you back on track. Mona Gohara, Good Housekeeping, "7 Common Scalp Issues — And How to Treat Them," 31 July 2018 More than 240 participants were split into two groups — one was given single doses of a topical testosterone gel, while the other was given placebo. Sy Mukherjee, Fortune, "Testosterone Makes Men Want Luxury Brands and Status Goods, Study Finds," 5 July 2018 The dermatologist gave me azelaic acid (sounds horrible, doesn't it?), a topical gel, and a low-dose antibiotic. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, "11 People Describe What It's Really Like to Have Rosacea," 14 May 2018 Kovel also advises looking out for cards that tell a history, such as content alluding to a war or topical event, or even a popular toy of the time. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Your Old Christmas Cards Might Be Worth Serious Money," 16 Nov. 2018 Chang says to look for topical treatments that contain retinoids, hydroquinone, and azelaic acid, which have all bene proven to dramatically lighten dark marks and even melasma. Audrey Noble, Harper's BAZAAR, "How To Get Rid of Acne Scars—Forever," 21 Jan. 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

17 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 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

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