Definition of topos in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈtɒpɒs/

noun (plural topoi /ˈtɒpɔɪ/)

A traditional theme or formula in literature: it is not easy to distinguish fact from topos in these documents
More example sentences
  • These are traditional Renaissance topoi of the fortune-telling of the natural world; nonetheless, they underscore the patriarchal view of Egypt's troubles as stemming, naturally, from women.
  • Irony has a critical function against an empty or insipid Romanticism and romantic topoi, for instance the Parisian dream and, moreover, the Orient that has become a commonplace.
  • Perhaps most usefully, however, the book offers a repertoire of rhetorical suggestions, topoi for the specific topic of rhetoric (hence the Aristotelian force of the title-it is a Rhetoric of Rhetoric for rhetoricians).


1940s: from Greek, literally 'place'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: topos

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