tropic

1 of 4

noun

trop·​ic ˈträ-pik How to pronounce tropic (audio)
1
: either of the two parallels of terrestrial latitude at a distance of about 23¹/₂ degrees north or south of the equator where the sun is directly overhead when it reaches its most northerly or southerly point in the sky compare tropic of cancer, tropic of capricorn
2
tropics or Tropics plural : the region lying between the tropics

tropic

2 of 4

adjective (1)

: of, relating to, or occurring in the tropics

tropic

3 of 4

adjective (2)

tro·​pic ˈtrō-pik How to pronounce tropic (audio)
1
: of, relating to, or characteristic of tropism or of a tropism
2
of a hormone : influencing the activity of a specified gland

-tropic

4 of 4

adjective combining form

1
: turning, changing, or tending to turn or change in a (specified) manner or in response to a (specified) stimulus
geotropic
2
: attracted to or acting upon (something specified)
neurotropic

Example Sentences

Noun a vacation in the tropics

Word History

Etymology

Noun

Middle English tropik, borrowed from Middle French & Late Latin; Middle French tropike, tropique, borrowed from Late Latin tropicus (short for tropicus circulus), noun derivative of Latin tropicus "of a solstice or equinox," borrowed from Greek tropikós, from tropḗ "turn, change, solstitial point" (noun derivative from the base of trépein "to turn") + -ikos -ic entry 1 — more at trope

Adjective (1)

borrowed from Middle French & Latin; Middle French tropike, tropique "of the sun's change of direction at the solstice, of either of the two tropics," borrowed from Latin tropicus "of a solstice or equinox" — more at tropic entry 1

Adjective (2)

generalization of -tropic, after German tropisch

Adjective combining form

French -tropique, from Greek -tropos -tropous

First Known Use

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective (1)

1624, in the meaning defined above

Adjective (2)

1899, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of tropic was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near tropic

Cite this Entry

“Tropic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tropic. Accessed 3 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition

tropic

1 of 3 noun
trop·​ic ˈträp-ik How to pronounce tropic (audio)
1
: either of the two parallels of the earth's latitude that are approximately 23frac::1/2 degrees north of the equator and approximately 23frac::1/2 degrees south of the equator
2
plural often capitalized : the region lying between the two tropics

tropic

2 of 3 adjective

tropic

3 of 3 adjective
tro·​pic ˈtrō-pik How to pronounce tropic (audio)
: of, relating to, or being a tropism
a tropic movement of a plant

Medical Definition

tropic

adjective
tro·​pic ˈtrō-pik How to pronounce tropic (audio)
1
: of, relating to, or characteristic of tropism or of a tropism
2
of a hormone : influencing the activity of a specified gland
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