relating to, originating with, or directed by those of highest rank: a centralized, top-down organization with a chain of command reporting up from every corner of the earth.
organized or proceeding from the larger, more general structure to smaller, more detailed units, as in processing information: Top-down investing looks at the big picture, or how the overall economy drives the markets, and then focuses on individual stocks.
Computers. noting or relating to a methodology used in the design and coding of programs that takes a high-level description of a problem and successively breaks it into smaller and simpler subunits.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use top-down in a sentence
As dependency on D.C. wells from the bottom up, it grows ever more fashionable from the top down.
We need to challenge this top-down decree that all web connections should, by default, be child-friendly.
The lack of available candidates is a bottom-up problem, and not necessarily a top-down problem.SNL's Kenan Thompson and the Invisible Black Women of Comedy | Tricia Romano | October 17, 2013 | THE DAILY BEAST
What was once a far more hierarchical, top-down, and force-fed relationship is much flatter and more voluntary.Four Principles for a Libertarian National Security State | Nick Gillespie | September 14, 2013 | THE DAILY BEAST
These top-down schemes need city-size investment, and the citizen does not need to worry about the consequences, we are told.How Big Data Is Entering Every Corner of Our Lives | Leo Hollis | July 26, 2013 | THE DAILY BEAST
Wheel-spokes whirred in the air and he saw a buggy, with the top down, rattling down another street in a cloud of dust.The Trail of the Lonesome Pine | John Fox, Jr.
This is a 1956 Cadillac, four-door touring car with the top down.Warren Commission (2 of 26): Hearings Vol. II (of 15) | The President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy
Did you notice anything else on the building as you scanned it from the top down, or from the bottom up?Warren Commission (2 of 26): Hearings Vol. II (of 15) | The President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy
This makes a neat lining and then I just pour in the nuts and fold the top down.Northern Nut Growers Association Report of the Proceedings at the Twenty-Fourth Annual Meeting | Northern Nut Growers Association
Carlisle, choking over the inflammatory draught, set the silver top down on the bureau.V. V.'s Eyes | Henry Sydnor Harrison
British Dictionary definitions for top-down
controlled, directed, or organized from the top
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