top dog


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

Origin of top dog

First recorded in 1885–1900
Related formstop-dog, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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


informal the leader or chief of a group
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.

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