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big top

noun
1.
the largest or main tent of a circus.
2.
a circus.
Origin of big top
1890-1895
An Americanism dating back to 1890-95
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for big top
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Presently the side-show tent was up and the “big top” rising.

  • And I don't want the side show to dim the performance in the big top.

    David Lannarck, Midget George S. Harney
  • Saying goodbye to her father, she bought a ticket and hastened into the big top.

    The Wishing Well Mildred A. Wirt
  • The big top was down, and poles and animal cages were being loaded on long trucks as he emerged.

    Anything Once Douglas Grant
  • Garry and Phil looked at all the animals as they passed through to the big top.

  • At the end of the landing on which their big top room opened was a short iron ladder.

    Captivity

    M. Leonora Eyles
  • In the summer, with the big top, I often simulated the ringmaster to make announcements from the center ring.

    David Lannarck, Midget George S. Harney
  • He was walking around the end of the big top when a sudden flash of crimson appeared against the canvas.

    The Crimson Flash

    Roy J. Snell
  • These he had bought from a fat, red faced man who was a guard at the entrance to the big top.

    The Crimson Flash

    Roy J. Snell
British Dictionary definitions for big top

big top

noun (informal)
1.
the main tent of a circus
2.
the circus itself
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Idioms and Phrases with big top

big top

1.
The main tent of a circus, as in The high-wire act is almost always in the big top. [ c. 1840 ]
2.
Underworld slang for a maximum-security prison, as in He was sentenced to ten years in the big top. [ 1950s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Word Value for big

6
8
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