• synonyms


See more synonyms for top on Thesaurus.com
  1. a toy, often inversely conical, with a point on which it is made to spin.
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  1. sleep like a top, to sleep soundly: After a day of hiking and swimming we slept like tops.
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Origin of top2

before 1100; Middle English, Old English; cognate with Frisian, dialectal Dutch top
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for sleep like a top


  1. the highest or uppermost part of anythingthe top of a hill
  2. the most important or successful positionto be at the top of the class; the top of the table
  3. the part of a plant that is above groundcarrot tops
  4. a thing that forms or covers the uppermost part of anything, esp a lid or capput the top on the saucepan
  5. the highest degree or pointat the top of his career
  6. the most important personhe's the top of this organization
  7. the best or finest part of anythingwe've got the top of this year's graduates
  8. the loudest or highest pitch (esp in the phrase top of one's voice)
  9. the beginningthe top of the hour; at the top of the programme
  10. short for top gear
  11. cards the highest card of a suit in a player's hand
  12. sport
    1. a stroke that hits the ball above its centre
    2. short for topspin
  13. a platform around the head of a lower mast of a sailing vessel, the edges of which serve to extend the topmast shrouds
  14. chem the part of a volatile liquid mixture that distils first
  15. a garment, esp for a woman, that extends from the shoulders to the waist or hips
    1. the high-frequency content of an audio signal
    2. (as modifier)this amplifier has a good top response
  16. blow one's top informal to lose one's temper
  17. on top of
    1. in addition toon top of his accident, he caught pneumonia
    2. informalin complete control of (a difficult situation, job, etc)
  18. off the top of one's head with no previous preparation; extempore
  19. over the top
    1. over the parapet or leading edge of a trench
    2. over the limit; excessive(ly); lacking restraint or a sense of proportion
  20. the top of the morning a morning greeting regarded as characteristic of Irishmen
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  1. of, relating to, serving as, or situated on the topthe top book in a pile
  2. British informal excellenta top night out
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verb tops, topping or topped (mainly tr)
  1. to form a top on (something)to top a cake with whipped cream
  2. to remove the top of or fromto top carrots
  3. to reach or pass the top ofwe topped the mountain
  4. to be at the top ofhe tops the team
  5. to exceed or surpass
  6. slang to kill
  7. (also intr) sport
    1. to hit (a ball) above the centre
    2. to make (a stroke) by hitting the ball in this way
  8. chem to distil off (the most volatile part) from a liquid mixture
  9. to add other colorants to (a dye) in order to modify the shade produced
  10. top and tail
    1. to trim off the ends of (fruit or vegetables) before cooking them
    2. to wash a baby's face and bottom without immersion in a bath
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Word Origin

Old English topp; related to Old High German zopf plait, Old Norse toppr tuft


  1. a toy that is spun on its pointed base by a flick of the fingers, by pushing a handle at the top up and down, etc
  2. anything that spins or whirls around
  3. sleep like a top to sleep very soundly
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Word Origin

Old English, of unknown origin
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

Word Origin and History for sleep like a top



"highest point," Old English top "summit, crest, tuft," from Proto-Germanic *tuppaz (cf. Old Norse toppr "tuft of hair," Old Frisian top "tuft," Old Dutch topp, Dutch top, Old High German zopf "end, tip, tuft of hair," German Zopf "tuft of hair"); no certain connections outside Germanic except a few Romanic words probably borrowed from Germanic.

Few Indo-European languages have a word so generic, which can be used of the upper part or surface of just about anything. More typical is German, which has Spitze for sharp peaks (mountains), oberfläche for the upper surface of flat things (such as a table). Top dog first attested 1900; top-drawer (1920) is from British expression out of the top drawer "upper-class."

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"toy that spins on a point," late Old English top, probably a special use of top (n.1), but the modern word is perhaps via Old French topet, which is from a Germanic source akin to the root of English top (n.1). As a type of seashell, first recorded 1680s.

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"put a top on," 1580s, from top (n.1). The meaning "be higher or greater than" also is first recorded 1580s. Related: Topped; topping. To top off "finish" is colloquial from 1836;

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with sleep like a top


In addition to the idioms beginning with top

  • top banana
  • top brass
  • top dog
  • top dollar
  • top drawer
  • top off
  • top out
  • top to toe

also see:

  • at the top of one's lungs
  • big top
  • blow one's top
  • brass hat (top brass)
  • from head to toe (top to toe)
  • off the top of one's head
  • on top
  • on top of
  • on top of the world
  • over the top
  • sleep like a log (top)
  • thin on top
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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.