- a part considered as higher: the top of the street.
- high gear of an automobile.
- the part of a plant that grows above ground, especially of an edible root.
- one of the tender tips of the branches or shoots of plants.
- the best card of a suit in a player's hand.
- (in duplicate bridge) the best score on a hand.
- a stroke that hits the ball above its center.
- the forward spin given to the ball by such a stroke.
- the first half of an inning.
- the first three batters in the batting order.
- a cluster of textile fibers, especially tow, put on a distaff.
- a strand of the long wool fibers in sliver form, separated from noil by combing and wound into a large ball.
- a similar strand of rayon.
verb (used with object), topped, top·ping.
- to strike (the ball) above its center, giving it a forward spin.
- to make (a stroke) by hitting the ball in this manner.
verb (used without object), topped, top·ping.
- 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.
- to finish the top of (a structure).
- to reach the highest level.
- 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.
- 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.
- elated: The success made her feel on top of the world.
- 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.
Origin of top1
- a stroke that hits the ball above its centre
- short for topspin
- the high-frequency content of an audio signal
- (as modifier)this amplifier has a good top response
- in addition toon top of his accident, he caught pneumonia
- informalin complete control of (a difficult situation, job, etc)
- over the parapet or leading edge of a trench
- over the limit; excessive(ly); lacking restraint or a sense of proportion
verb tops, topping or topped (mainly tr)
- to hit (a ball) above the centre
- to make (a stroke) by hitting the ball in this way
- 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
Word Origin for top
Word Origin for 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."
"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.
Complete the top portion of a building, as in They were scheduled to top out the dome next week. This idiom was first recorded in 1834.
Fill up a ship or complete its cargo, as in The ship was topped out with scrap iron. This idiom was first recorded in 1940.
Cease rising, as in Interest rates topped out at 10 percent. [Second half of 1900s]
Retire just as one becomes very successful, as in He decided that at sixty it was time to top out. [Colloquial; second half of 1900s]
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
- 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