to·​pos ˈtō-ˌpäs How to pronounce topos (audio)
plural topoi ˈtō-ˌpȯi How to pronounce topos (audio)
: a traditional or conventional literary or rhetorical theme or topic

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web This inward pull relates to her sense of memory and place: all topics are topos, terrain, their meanings leaved in geologic strata. Katy Waldman, The New Yorker, 11 Mar. 2020

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

Word History


Greek, short for koinos topos, literally, common place

First Known Use

1936, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of topos was in 1936

Dictionary Entries Near topos

Cite this Entry

“Topos.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Feb. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on topos

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