Definition of topography
1a : the art or practice of graphic delineation in detail usually on maps or charts of natural and man-made features of a place or region especially in a way to show their relative positions and elevationsb : topographical surveying
2a : the configuration of a surface including its relief and the position of its natural and man-made featuresb : the physical or natural features of an object or entity and their structural relationships <the topography of human chromosomes> <the political topography of our time>
Examples of topography in a sentence
<a map of the topography of the coastline shows a significant loss of wetlands>
Did You Know?
Topography combines top- with graph-, a root meaning "write" or "describe". The topography of the Sahara Desert features shifting sand dunes and dry, rocky mountains. A topographic (or topo) map not only shows the surface features of a region but also indicates the contours and approximate altitude of every location, by means of numerous curving lines, each indicating a single elevation. In other words, it shows a "three-dimensional" picture on a two-dimensional surface. Topo maps are commonly used by hikers, surveyors, government workers, and engineers, among other people.
Origin and Etymology of topography
Middle English topographie, from Late Latin topographia, from Greek, from topographein to describe a place, from topos place + graphein to write — more at carve
First Known Use: 15th century
TOPOGRAPHY Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of topography for English Language Learners
: the art or science of making maps that show the height, shape, etc., of the land in a particular area
: the features (such as mountains and rivers) in an area of land
Medical Definition of topography
1: the physical or natural features of an object or entity and their structural relationships <the topography of the abdomen> <the topography (size and fluorescent staining intensity) of human chromosomes—Science News>
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up topography? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).