Definition of topical in English:



  • 1(of a subject) of immediate relevance, interest, or importance owing to its relation to current events.

    ‘a popular topical affairs programme’
    • ‘That requires programmes which are topical, engaging and relevant, as the best of current affairs has always been.’
    • ‘You can get latest news, comment pieces on topical issues, a list of events, and lots of statistics on the region.’
    • ‘The suffering of humanity in war, a very topical issue at the moment, is the theme of one of the books chosen by Castlebar Book club for April.’
    • ‘Other topical issues got the panel debating the grey areas of liberalism, such as the contradictions in banning fox hunting and smoking in public places.’
    • ‘This new programme will deal with topical issues and news stories of the day and provide a platform for listeners' views.’
    • ‘It deals with a very topical subject, Anglo-American relations, set at a time during the American War of Independence.’
    • ‘So you could see that they really wanted to focus these things on topical issues and really drill them home.’
    • ‘Of course it's only topical to current events in my and my family's life but I believe you should take these things one step at a time.’
    • ‘The key problem is that the burden of proof, or demand for evidence, may vary according to a policy's perceived fit with the prevailing collective world views about issues of popular topical interest.’
    • ‘School can help prepare children for this adult world, by encouraging them to discuss social and political affairs, and introducing topical issues during lessons.’
    • ‘They usually have a few guests and discuss topical issues, usually of interest to men.’
    • ‘About 250 students from Yorkshire and Lincolnshire are expected to attend the December 14 event, which will cover a number of topical issues.’
    • ‘She will focus on exploring topical issues ranging from social and personal ones to world politics.’
    • ‘The flagship daily news and current affairs programme Kildare Today will deal with topical issues and provide a forum for listeners to air their views.’
    • ‘As contributions to this section, the Editors welcome comment and debate on topical issues or on recent articles or reviews appearing in the journal.’
    • ‘Our programming is about subjects that are topical and relevant to us in our current lives.’
    • ‘He is a frequent contributor to leading newspapers on subjects of topical interest.’
    • ‘Should it end the practice of open questioning of ministers on topical issues?’
    • ‘To make the event more meaningful, seminars on topical interest have also been scheduled.’
    • ‘Official spokespeople were initially hostile, but have now taken the smart public relations step of cautiously complimenting the duo for raising topical issues.’
    current, up to date, up to the minute, contemporary, recent
    newsworthy, in the news
    relevant, pressing, important, vital, timely, Popular
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Relating to a particular subject; classified according to subject.
      ‘foreign or topical stamps’
      • ‘Temporary special exhibitions are dedicated to individual artists, or to topical themes in the fields of art, architecture, and modern design.’
      • ‘A table at the end of the book also classifies documents into a number of topical categories.’
      • ‘Another issue of topical farming interest that may be aired at the show will be the cross-compliance - environment and welfare - part of the CAP reform package.’
      • ‘In addition, articles were coded according to topical descriptors, based on a modified list.’
      • ‘Or you can invent topical categories - love letters, crank letters, letters to the editor.’
      • ‘Each of the larger sections is divided into several topical categories.’
      • ‘The book has a brand new topical thematic arrangement designed to better your spiritual growth.’
      • ‘Japanese gardens were my introduction to Asian garden style and make up the bulk of my topical collection.’
      • ‘It's very easy to find your way around, and there are topical menus on every page, leading you to categories such as Beyond Buddies, Head and Heart, and Out of Bounds.’
  • 2Medicine
    Relating or applied directly to a part of the body.

    ‘topical steroid creams’
    • ‘In addition, otitis from all of these diseases, excluding acne, will respond to low-dose therapy with topical steroid solutions.’
    • ‘If 50 percent or more of the scalp is involved, treatment options include topical immunotherapy, systemic steroids or phototherapy.’
    • ‘Products can be classified as topical antibiotics, biologic dressings, and nonbiologic dressings.’
    • ‘A prescription for hydroxyzine and a topical steroid cream ended the house call but not my children's fascination with the stranger who came to our home.’
    • ‘In patients with severe discomfort secondary to vulvitis, the combination of a low-potency steroid cream and a topical antifungal cream may be beneficial.’
    • ‘Treatment of basal cell carcinoma includes different forms of surgery, radiotherapy, photodynamic therapy, topical fluorouracil, and imiquimod’
    • ‘Unlike existing treatments for the condition, MED2002 is a topical treatment that is designed to be safe for patients with heart problems.’
    • ‘He had been prescribed potent topical steroids, Fucidin cream, and oral amoxycillin, but none had been effective.’
    • ‘Intralesional bleomycin, topical immunotherapy, photodynamic therapy, and pulsed dye laser treatment are best confined to research centres or resistant cases.’
    • ‘The FDA published this TFM on the testing and classification of topical antimicrobials.’
    • ‘A special herbal topical medication was exclusively designed by experts in our institution.’
    • ‘A physician had prescribed a topical steroid cream for this eruption three months ago with initial improvement in the rash.’
    • ‘You would take systemic remedies by mouth and they work on the whole body while topical remedies are applied directly to the area affected, such as a nasal spay for a blocked nose.’
    • ‘Severe itch may be reduced by modifying inflammation with topical steroids or by using phototherapy or photochemotherapy.’
    • ‘A topical steroid cream will help relieve itching and swelling.’
    • ‘Side effects of topical otic fluoroquinolones are rare.’
    • ‘Pemphigus vulgaris, once a lethal skin disease, is now commonly treated with systemic steroids and topical treatment for skin lesions.’
    • ‘Sunscreen is topical preparation designed to protect the skin from the effects of ultraviolet light.’
    • ‘Your dentist or dental hygienist can apply topical fluorides during dental visits.’
    • ‘Further treatment with a combination cream that included topical steroid, antibiotic, and nystatin was also ineffective.’


Late 16th century: from Greek topikos + -al. Early use was as a term in logic and rhetoric describing a rule or argument as ‘applicable in most but not all cases’.