to·​pol·​o·​gy | \ tə-ˈpä-lə-jē How to pronounce topology (audio) , tä- \
plural topologies

Definition of topology

1 : topographic study of a particular place specifically : the history of a region as indicated by its topography
2a(1) : a branch of mathematics concerned with those properties of geometric configurations (such as point sets) which are unaltered by elastic deformations (such as a stretching or a twisting) that are homeomorphisms
(2) : the set of all open subsets of a topological space
b : configuration topology of a molecule topology of a magnetic field

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from topology

topologist \ tə-​ˈpä-​lə-​jist How to pronounce topologist (audio) , tä-​ \ noun

Examples of topology in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Mastrolia and Mizera’s work is rooted in a branch of pure math called algebraic topology, which classifies shapes and spaces. Quanta Magazine, "The Mathematical Structure of Particle Collisions Comes Into View," 20 Aug. 2020 The telemetry exposed to the ISP includes outages, speed-test data, client network topology, RF diagnostics, and more. Jim Salter, Ars Technica, "Eero for Service Providers: Eero Wi-Fi mesh targeted at ISPs," 7 Oct. 2020 The initial efforts to understand the role of topology in the quantum Hall effect were considered so significant, in fact, that in 2016 theoretical physicists David Thouless and F. Duncan M. Haldane won a Nobel Prize for this work. Spyridon Michalakis, Scientific American, "How Scientists Solved One of the Greatest Open Questions in Quantum Physics," 1 Aug. 2020 As a result, symplectic geometry occupies a kind of middle ground between the floppy topology of a tarp and the rigid geometry of a tent. Quanta Magazine, "How Physics Found a Geometric Structure for Math to Play With," 29 July 2020 After initially gaining access, members often spend days or weeks mapping machine topology and obtaining passwords in an attempt to maximize the damage that can be done. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Booze and cruise providers are the latest to be hit by ransomware scourge," 18 Aug. 2020 Knot theory, a field of topology, is the mathematical study of these kinds of snarls, per Wolfram Alpha. Nora Mcgreevy, Smithsonian Magazine, "Graduate Student Untangles Decades-Old Math Problem in Less Than a Week," 27 May 2020 To study the quantum hall effect more deeply, physicists turned to a branch of mathematics called topology. Spyridon Michalakis, Scientific American, "How Scientists Solved One of the Greatest Open Questions in Quantum Physics," 1 Aug. 2020 Today, representation theory is a central tool in many mathematical fields: algebra, topology, geometry, mathematical physics and number theory — including the sweeping Langlands program. Quanta Magazine, "The ‘Useless’ Perspective That Transformed Mathematics," 9 June 2020

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

See More

First Known Use of topology

1850, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for topology

International Scientific Vocabulary

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about topology

Time Traveler for topology

Time Traveler

The first known use of topology was in 1850

See more words from the same year

Statistics for topology

Last Updated

15 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Topology.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Nov. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for topology


to·​pol·​o·​gy | \ tə-ˈpäl-ə-jē, tä- How to pronounce topology (audio) \
plural topologies

Medical Definition of topology

2 : configuration sense 1 the topology of a molecule

Other Words from topology

topological \ ˌtäp-​ə-​ˈläj-​i-​kəl How to pronounce topological (audio) \ also topologic \ -​ik How to pronounce topologic (audio) \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on topology Encyclopedia article about topology

Comments on topology

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble tiles that read scrabble quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!