trop·​i·​cal | \ for sense 1 ˈträ-pi-kəl How to pronounce tropical (audio) , for sense 2 ˈtrō- also ˈträ-\

Definition of tropical

1a : of, relating to, occurring in, or suitable for use in the tropics tropical forests a tropical disease
b : of, being, or characteristic of a region or climate that is frost-free with temperatures high enough to support year-round plant growth given sufficient moisture tropical Florida
2 [ Latin tropicus, from Greek tropikos, from tropos trope ] : figurative sense 2

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from tropical

tropically \ ˈträ-​pi-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce tropically (audio) , ˈtrō-​ \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for tropical


equatorial, low



Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of tropical in a Sentence

wanted to escape winter and visit some tropical location where freezing to death would not be a possibility an author given to high-flown tropical phrasings and convoluted symbology

Recent Examples on the Web

Hurricanes form in tropical waters around the globe; in the Pacific, there’s Hurricane Olivia, which may impact Hawaii as a tropical storm later this week. Brian Resnick, Vox, "Hurricane Florence: what we know about the powerful storm heading for the Carolinas," 10 Sep. 2018 The biggest cities — Nassau, Freeport, and Andros and their respective islands — attract the most visitors coming through the Bahamas, but the country actually includes more than 700 islands, cays, and islets dotted across its tropical waters. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "How to Vacation Like the Royal Family in the Bahamas," 30 Aug. 2018 On the tour of the marine lab, Prince Albert inspected a coral blanching project that could help scientists understand the strain placed on coral in warming tropical waters. Amelia Nierenberg,, "Royalty comes to Woods Hole on a mission to protect world’s oceans," 9 July 2018 El Niño is a natural warming of tropical Pacific Ocean water, which tends to suppress the development of Atlantic hurricanes. Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, "Atlantic hurricane season forecast changes for the better with fewer storms predicted," 3 July 2018 Some of the rains come from tropical ocean waters, others from thunderstorms and are a result of long-rising air temperatures and an increase in the size of these more-frequent storms, The Post’s Tim Craig and Angela Fritz report. Dino Grandoni, Washington Post, "The Energy 202: How a conservation fund helped sink Trump's budget-trimming efforts," 25 June 2018 Hawksbill turtles, found throughout the tropical waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans, made up the vast majority of the dead turtles discovered by police. National Geographic, "Turtle Trafficker Sentenced, But Suspected Mastermind Still Not Charged," 8 June 2018 Cruise the tropical waters of Central America on a 10-day trip that includes visits to national parks in Costa Rica and to the Panama Canal. Rosemary Mcclure,, "Central America cruise visits Costa Rica, journeys through the Panama Canal," 18 May 2018 Hurricanes are basically coils spun out of tropical water and air. Jenny Staletovich, miamiherald, "Why do some hurricanes intensify so fast? Miami researchers find a key clue | Miami Herald," 25 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tropical.' 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 tropical

1671, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about tropical

Statistics for tropical

Last Updated

15 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tropical

The first known use of tropical was in 1671

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for tropical



English Language Learners Definition of tropical

: of, relating to, occurring in, or used in the tropics


trop·​i·​cal | \ ˈträ-pi-kəl How to pronounce tropical (audio) \

Kids Definition of tropical

: of or occurring in the tropics tropical fruit a tropical island

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on tropical

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tropical

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tropical

Spanish Central: Translation of tropical

Nglish: Translation of tropical for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tropical for Arabic Speakers

Comments on tropical

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


to move or proceed with twists and turns

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


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!