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big top

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noun
  1. the largest or main tent of a circus.
  2. a circus.
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Origin of big top

An Americanism dating back to 1890–95
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for big top

big top

noun informal
  1. the main tent of a circus
  2. the circus itself
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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

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]

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2

Underworld slang for a maximum-security prison, as in He was sentenced to ten years in the big top. [1950s]

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.