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top dog

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noun
  1. a person, group, or nation that has acquired a position of highest authority.
  2. the winner of a competition or rivalry; champion: He was determined to be top dog at the swimming meet.
  3. Animal Behavior. the alpha male or alpha female in a dominance hierarchy.
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Origin of top dog

First recorded in 1885–1900
Related formstop-dog, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for top dog

administrator, guru, ruler, boss, director, judge, manager, commander, owner, instructor, teacher, representative, minister, executive, bureaucrat, commissioner, agent, officer, leader, secretary

Examples from the Web for top dog

Historical Examples of top dog

  • We may love to be top-dog, but we do prefer to get it off our own bat.

    John Brown

    Captain R. W. Campbell

  • The late under-dog now intended to bite and worry as the top-dog had done.

  • He has always been top-dog—­bright, light, strong, unassailable.

  • Carcajou, like a good many other places, commonly favored the top-dog when it came to betting.

    The Peace of Roaring River

    George van Schaick

  • In the one case, one proves himself top-dog of the mind; in the other, top-dog of the muscle.


British Dictionary definitions for top dog

top dog

noun
  1. informal the leader or chief of a group
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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 top dog

top dog

see top banana.

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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.