[ top ]
See synonyms for: toptoppedtoppingtops on

  1. the highest or loftiest point or part of anything on a slope; apex; summit: It's two more miles to the top of the mountain.She’s installed a new childproof gate at the top of the stairs.

  2. the uppermost or upper part, surface, etc., of anything: She put her sweaters in a box on the top of the wardrobe.The railing is wrought iron with hammered scrollwork along the top.

  1. tops,

    • the part of a plant that grows above ground, especially of an edible root: They make a pesto with carrot tops rather than basil.

    • the small twigs, branches, or shoots of plants: Until these logs are stripped of their tops, you’ll have a hard time selling them for firewood.

  2. the part of anything that is first or foremost; beginning: Let's go over it from the top again.

  3. the highest or leading place, position, rank, etc.: This quarter she's been at the top of the class.

  4. the highest point, pitch, or degree: You have to talk at the top of your voice to be heard around here.

  5. a person or thing that occupies the highest or leading position: There's only a handful of musicians producing new work in this genre, and she's the top.

  6. the best or choicest part: To me, this park is the top of all creation.

  7. a covering or lid, as of a container or vehicle: Put the top on the pot before the sauce overthickens.

  8. any of various outer garments for the upper body, such as a blouse, shirt, or sweater: They're having a sale on cotton tops and shorts.

  9. the head.

  10. British. the farthest point of something relative to a person's position or line of sight: Their shop's at the top of the street.

  11. British. the highest available gear of an automobile.

  12. Nautical. a platform surrounding the head of a lower mast on a ship, and serving as a foothold, a means of extending the upper rigging, etc.

  13. Chemistry. the part of a mixture under distillation that volatilizes first.

  14. Bridge.

    • the best card of a suit in a player's hand.

    • (in duplicate bridge) the best score on a hand.

  15. Sports.

    • a stroke that hits the ball above its center.

    • the forward spin given to the ball by such a stroke.

  16. Baseball.

    • the first half of an inning.

    • the first three batters in the batting order.

  17. Slang. : Compare bottom (def. 14). See also vers.

    • (in the LGBTQ community) a person who prefers to take or is currently taking a penetrative or giving role in a particular sexual act, especially in anal intercourse.

    • (especially in BDSM) a person who prefers to take or is currently taking a dominant role in a sexual relationship.

  18. Textiles.

    • a cluster of textile fibers, especially tow, put on a distaff for spinning into yarn.

    • a strand of the long wool fibers in sliver form, separated from the noil by combing and wound into a large ball.

    • a similar strand of rayon or other synthetic fiber.

  19. Jewelry. crown (def. 27).

  20. tops, the tops, Informal. the most outstanding person or thing in ability, favor, etc.: As a friend, she's the tops.If you like small plates and excellent service, this place is tops.

  1. pertaining to, situated at, or forming the top; highest; uppermost; upper: The chocolate chips are on the top shelf.

  2. highest in degree; greatest: We pay top prices for scrap iron.

  1. foremost, chief, or principal: She outshone seven other competitors to win top honors in the competition.

verb (used with object),topped, top·ping.
  1. to furnish with an upper part or side; put a top on: The builders would top the pyramid with a solid granite capstone covered in gold.

  2. to be at or constitute the highest or best part of: The song topped the charts for three weeks straight.

  1. to reach the highest or best part of: This German city often tops polls of the most livable city on the planet.

  2. to rise above: The sun had topped the horizon.

  3. to exceed in height, amount, number, etc.: The service just recently topped its competitors by 1,000 customers.

  4. to surpass, excel, or outdo: That tops everything.

  5. Theater. (in spoken dialogue) to reply in a voice of greater volume or higher pitch: King Henry must top the crowd noises in his St. Crispin's Day speech.

  6. to surmount with something specified: to top a sundae with whipped cream.

  7. to remove the top of; crop; prune: Always consult a certified arborist before topping a tree.

  8. to get or leap over the top of (a fence, barrier, etc.): She topped the stone wall in her rush to get to the mare giving birth.

  9. Chemistry. to distill off only the most volatile part of (a mixture).

  10. Sports.

    • to strike (the ball) above its center, giving it a forward spin.

    • to make (a stroke) by hitting the ball in this manner.

  11. Slang.

    • (in the LGBTQ community) to do a particular sexual act to (a partner), especially anal intercourse.

    • (especially in BDSM) to dominate (a sexual partner).

  12. Obsolete. to have sexual intercourse with (a woman).

verb (used without object),topped, top·ping.
  1. Slang. : Compare bottom (def. 23). See also vers.

    • (in the LGBTQ community) to take a penetrative or giving role in a particular sexual act, especially in anal intercourse.

    • (especially in BDSM) to take a dominant role in a sexual relationship or encounter.

Verb Phrases
  1. top off,

    • to climax or complete, especially in an exceptional manner; finish: They topped off the evening with a ferryboat ride at midnight.

    • to fill (a partly full container) completely: to top off a gas tank.

  2. top out,

    • to finish the top of (a structure).

    • to reach the highest level.

Idioms about top

  1. blow one's top, Informal.

    • to become enraged; lose one's temper.

    • to go mad; become insane: He must have blown his top to make such a fool of himself.

  2. off the top of one's head, Informal. head (def. 78).

  1. on top, successful; victorious; dominant: to stay on top.

  2. on top of,

    • over or upon.

    • in addition to; over and above.

    • close upon; following upon: Gale winds came on top of the floods.

    • in complete control: on top of the problem.

  3. on top of the world,

  4. over the top,

    • Military. over the top of the parapet before a trench, as in issuing to charge against the enemy.

    • surpassing a goal, quota, or limit.

    • beyond normal limits; outrageously extreme or excessive: His humor is so over the top that it’s embarrassing.

  5. top oneself, Chiefly British. to kill oneself.

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”

Other words for top

Opposites for top

Other words from top

  • un·topped, adjective

Other definitions for top (2 of 3)

[ top ]

  1. 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)


  1. variant of topo- before a vowel: toponym. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use top in a sentence

  • He came to the top of the stairs with a lamp in his hand, and wanted to know what the rumpus was about.

    The Bondboy | George W. (George Washington) Ogden
  • The offspring of the ungodly shall not bring forth many branches, and make a noise as unclean roots upon the top of a rock.

  • The jagged top and spurs of San Jacinto Mountain shone like the turrets and posterns of a citadel built of rubies.

    Ramona | Helen Hunt Jackson
  • The way was under a double row of tall trees, which met at the top and formed a green arch over our heads.

  • In fact, his appearance was so formidable that Davy did not pause for a second look, but started off at the top of his speed.

    Davy and The Goblin | Charles E. Carryl

British Dictionary definitions for top (1 of 3)


/ (tɒp) /

  1. the highest or uppermost part of anything: the top of a hill

  2. the most important or successful position: to be at the top of the class; the top of the table

  1. the part of a plant that is above ground: carrot tops

  2. a thing that forms or covers the uppermost part of anything, esp a lid or cap: put the top on the saucepan

  3. the highest degree or point: at the top of his career

  4. the most important person: he's the top of this organization

  5. the best or finest part of anything: we've got the top of this year's graduates

  6. the loudest or highest pitch (esp in the phrase top of one's voice)

  7. the beginning: the top of the hour; at the top of the programme

  8. short for top gear

  9. cards the highest card of a suit in a player's hand

  10. sport

    • a stroke that hits the ball above its centre

    • short for topspin

  11. a platform around the head of a lower mast of a sailing vessel, the edges of which serve to extend the topmast shrouds

  12. chem the part of a volatile liquid mixture that distils first

  13. a garment, esp for a woman, that extends from the shoulders to the waist or hips

    • the high-frequency content of an audio signal

    • (as modifier): this amplifier has a good top response

  14. blow one's top informal to lose one's temper

  15. on top of

    • in addition to: on top of his accident, he caught pneumonia

    • informal in complete control of (a difficult situation, job, etc)

  16. off the top of one's head with no previous preparation; extempore

  17. over the top

    • over the parapet or leading edge of a trench

    • over the limit; excessive(ly); lacking restraint or a sense of proportion

  18. the top of the morning a morning greeting regarded as characteristic of Irishmen

  1. of, relating to, serving as, or situated on the top: the top book in a pile

  2. British informal excellent: a top night out

verbtops, 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 from: to top carrots

  1. to reach or pass the top of: we topped the mountain

  2. to be at the top of: he tops the team

  3. to exceed or surpass

  4. slang to kill

  5. (also intr) sport

    • to hit (a ball) above the centre

    • to make (a stroke) by hitting the ball in this way

  6. chem to distil off (the most volatile part) from a liquid mixture

  7. to add other colorants to (a dye) in order to modify the shade produced

  8. top and tail

    • to trim off the ends of (fruit or vegetables) before cooking them

    • to wash a baby's face and bottom without immersion in a bath

Origin of top

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

British Dictionary definitions for top (2 of 3)


/ (tɒp) /

  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

  1. sleep like a top to sleep very soundly

Origin of top

Old English, of unknown origin

British Dictionary definitions for top- (3 of 3)


combining form
  1. 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


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

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