topography

noun

to·​pog·​ra·​phy tə-ˈpä-grə-fē How to pronounce topography (audio)
1
a
: 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 elevations
b
: topographical surveying
2
a
: the configuration of a surface including its relief and the position of its natural and man-made features
b
: 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

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.

Examples of topography in a Sentence

a map of the topography of the coastline shows a significant loss of wetlands
Recent Examples on the Web The area is characterized by steep topography on the eastern flank of the Central Cordillera with elevations between 800 m and 2,000 m above sea level (a.s.l.). Sacramento Bee, 2 July 2024 If the Moon had a topography like Earth, people thought, it might very well be inhabited. Amelia Soth, JSTOR Daily, 27 June 2024 But when crunching the data—including soil, the climate, and topography—machine learning is delivering some valuable, counterintuitive insights. Alena Botros, Fortune, 26 June 2024 Fashion is about storytelling, and Cape Verde, off the coast of West Africa, felt like the perfect fit with its unique topography: cinematic dunes, endless white sand beaches, and rich volcanic areas. Martha Ward, Condé Nast Traveler, 14 Mar. 2024 See all Example Sentences for topography 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'topography.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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

Dictionary Entries Near topography

Cite this Entry

“Topography.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/topography. Accessed 18 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

topography

noun
to·​pog·​ra·​phy tə-ˈpäg-rə-fē How to pronounce topography (audio)
1
: the art or practice of showing on maps or charts the heights and depths of the features of a place
2
: the shape and height and depth of the features of a place

Medical Definition

topography

noun
to·​pog·​ra·​phy tə-ˈpäg-rə-fē How to pronounce topography (audio)
plural topographies
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 chromosomesScience News
2

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