Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The subject of a speech, essay, thesis, or discourse.
  • noun A subject of discussion or conversation.
  • noun A subdivision of a theme, thesis, or outline. synonym: subject.
  • noun Linguistics A word or phrase in a sentence, usually providing information from previous discourse or shared knowledge, that the rest of the sentence elaborates or comments on.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun plural In geometry, topology. See topics, 2.
  • Local: same as topical.
  • noun In logic and rhetoric, a common place (which see, under common); a class of considerations from which probable arguments can be drawn.
  • noun The subject of a discourse, argument, or literary composition, or the subject of any distinct part of a discourse, etc.; any matter treated of: now the usual meaning of the word.
  • noun In medicine, a remedy locally applied.
  • noun Synonyms Theme, Point, etc. See subject.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Topical.
  • noun One of the various general forms of argument employed in probable as distinguished from demonstrative reasoning, -- denominated by Aristotle to`poi (literally, places), as being the places or sources from which arguments may be derived, or to which they may be referred; also, a prepared form of argument, applicable to a great variety of cases, with a supply of which the ancient rhetoricians and orators provided themselves; a commonplace of argument or oratory.
  • noun A treatise on forms of argument; a system or scheme of forms or commonplaces of argument or oratory.
  • noun obsolete An argument or reason.
  • noun The subject of any distinct portion of a discourse, or argument, or literary composition; also, the general or main subject of the whole; a matter treated of; a subject, as of conversation or of thought; a matter; a point; a head.
  • noun (Med.), obsolescent An external local application or remedy, as a plaster, a blister, etc.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective topical
  • noun Subject; theme; a category or general area of interest.
  • noun Internet discussion thread

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun the subject matter of a conversation or discussion
  • noun some situation or event that is thought about

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Obsolete topic, rhetorical argument, sing. of Topics, title of a work by Aristotle, from Latin Topica, from Greek Topika, commonplaces, from neuter pl. of topikos, of a place, from topos, place.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin topica, from Ancient Greek τοπικός (topikos, "pertaining to a place, local, pertaining to a common place, or topic, topical"), from τόπος (topos, "a place").

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