Were you ready for a quiz on this topic? Well, here it is! See how well you can differentiate between the uses of "was" vs. "were" in this quiz.
Question 1 of 7
“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

Idioms about top

Origin of top

First recorded before 1000; Middle English top, top(p)e, Old English topp, toppa “top, summit, tuft of hair”; cognate with Dutch top, German Zopf, Old Norse toppr “top”


un·topped, adjective

Other definitions for top (2 of 3)

[ top ]
/ tɒp /

a toy, often inversely conical, with a point on which it is made to spin.

Origin of top

First recorded before 1100; Middle English top, toppe, Old English top; cognate with Frisian, dialectal Dutch top

Other definitions for top (3 of 3)


variant of topo- before a vowel: toponym.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does top- mean?

Top- is a combining form used like a prefix meaning “place” or “local.” It is often used in scientific and other technical terms.

Top- comes from the Greek tópos, meaning “place” or “commonplace.” Commonplace? Yep, discover why at our entry here.

Top- is a variant of topo-, which loses its -o– when combined with words or word elements beginning with vowels.

Want to know more? Read our Words That Use topo- article.

Examples of top-

One term that features top– is toponym, which can refer to a placename (e.g., Oakland, California) or a name derived from the name of a place. Many English words come from placenames, such as denim and jeans. Learn how in our entries for the word.

The first part of the word, top-, means “place,” as we’ve seen. The second part of the word, -onym, might also look familiar. Also from Greek, it means “word” or “name.” Toponym, if we put everything back in one place, literally translates to “place name.” Makes sense!

What are some words that use the combining form top-?

What are some other forms that top- may be commonly confused with

There are many other words that begin with the letter top- but don’t necessarily use top- as a combining form to mean “place” or “local.” The word top, of course, is entirety made up of the same letters, but it is not connected to top-, even if their senses overlap on some levels. Nor does the precious stone topaz share a root with top-.

But the words topic and topical are connected to top- and its Greek roots! Find out why at our entry for the words.

Break it down!

The combining form -algia means “pain.” With this in mind, what does the medical condition of topalgia involve?

How to use top in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for top (1 of 3)

/ (tɒp) /

of, relating to, serving as, or situated on the topthe top book in a pile
British informal excellenta top night out
verb tops, topping or topped (mainly tr)

Word Origin for top

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

British Dictionary definitions for top (2 of 3)

/ (tɒp) /

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
anything that spins or whirls around
sleep like a top to sleep very soundly

Word Origin for top

Old English, of unknown origin

British Dictionary definitions for top (3 of 3)


combining form
a variant of topo-
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

Other Idioms and Phrases with top


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