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the highest or loftiest point or part of anything; apex; summit.
Synonyms: zenith, acme, peak, pinnacle, vertex.
Antonyms: bottom, base, foot, lowest point.
the uppermost or upper part, surface, etc., of anything.
the higher end of anything on a slope.

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 part of anything that is first or foremost; beginning:
Let’s go over it from the top again.
the highest or leading place, position, rank, etc.:
at the top of the class.
the highest point, pitch, or degree:
to talk at the top of one’s voice.
a person or thing that occupies the highest or leading position.
the best or choicest part:
the top of all creation.
a covering or lid, as of a container or vehicle.
the head.
any of various outer garments for the upper body, as a blouse, shirt, or sweater:
a sale on cotton tops and shorts.
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.
Chemistry. the part of a mixture under distillation that volatilizes first.

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.

Slang. the dominant partner in a sexual relationship or encounter, especially the penetrator in anal intercourse (opposed to bottom).

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.

Jewelry. crown (def 27).
the tops, Informal. the most outstanding person or thing in ability, favor, etc.:
As a friend, she’s the tops.
pertaining to, situated at, or forming the top; highest; uppermost; upper:
the top shelf.
highest in degree; greatest:
to pay top prices.
foremost, chief, or principal:
to win top honors in a competition.
to furnish with a top; put a top on.
to be at or constitute the top of.
to reach the top of.
to rise above:
The sun had topped the horizon.
to exceed in height, amount, number, etc.
to surpass, excel, or outdo:
That tops everything.
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.
to surmount with something specified:
to top a sundae with whipped cream.
to remove the top of; crop; prune:
to top a tall tree.
Synonyms: lop, shear.
to get or leap over the top of (a fence, barrier, etc.).
Chemistry. to distill off only the most volatile part of (a mixture).

to strike (the ball) above its center, giving it a forward spin.
to make (a stroke) by hitting the ball in this manner.

to top-dress (land).
Obsolete. to have coitus with (a woman).
to rise aloft.
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.

top out,

to finish the top of (a structure).
to reach the highest level.

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.

off the top of one’s head, Informal. head (def 77).
on top, successful; victorious; dominant:
to stay on top.
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.

on top of the world,

The success made her feel on top of the world.

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.

top oneself, Chiefly British. to kill oneself.
a toy, often inversely conical, with a point on which it is made to spin.
sleep like a top, to sleep soundly:
After a day of hiking and swimming we slept like tops.
variant of topo- before a vowel:
Contemporary Examples

Ensign, Get Your Sorry Ass Out of the Senate Mark McKinnon June 16, 2009
Meanwhile, On The West Bank… Emily L. Hauser November 26, 2012
Meet the Man Running for Congress on an Anti-Muslim Platform Dean Obeidallah July 23, 2014
The Roots of the Next Financial Crisis: How Wall Street Undermines Reform Lawrence Lessig June 22, 2013
Sheryl Sandberg on the Power of Facebook Jessica Bennett April 10, 2011

Historical Examples

The History of Louisiana Le Page Du Pratz
A Prisoner of Morro Upton Sinclair
Rollo’s Philosophy. [Air] Jacob Abbott
Millennium Everett B. Cole
And Then the Town Took Off Richard Wilson

the highest or uppermost part of anything: the top of a hill
the most important or successful position: to be at the top of the class, the top of the table
the part of a plant that is above ground: carrot tops
a thing that forms or covers the uppermost part of anything, esp a lid or cap: put the top on the saucepan
the highest degree or point: at the top of his career
the most important person: he’s the top of this organization
the best or finest part of anything: we’ve got the top of this year’s graduates
the loudest or highest pitch (esp in the phrase top of one’s voice)
the beginning: the top of the hour, at the top of the programme
short for top gear
(cards) the highest card of a suit in a player’s hand

a stroke that hits the ball above its centre
short for topspin

a platform around the head of a lower mast of a sailing vessel, the edges of which serve to extend the topmast shrouds
(chem) the part of a volatile liquid mixture that distils first
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

(informal) blow one’s top, to lose one’s temper
on top of

in addition to: on top of his accident, he caught pneumonia
(informal) in complete control of (a difficult situation, job, etc)

off the top of one’s head, with no previous preparation; extempore
over the top

over the parapet or leading edge of a trench
over the limit; excessive(ly); lacking restraint or a sense of proportion

the top of the morning, a morning greeting regarded as characteristic of Irishmen
of, relating to, serving as, or situated on the top: the top book in a pile
(Brit, informal) excellent: a top night out
verb (mainly transitive) tops, topping, topped
to form a top on (something): to top a cake with whipped cream
to remove the top of or from: to top carrots
to reach or pass the top of: we topped the mountain
to be at the top of: he tops the team
to exceed or surpass
(slang) to kill
(also intransitive) (sport)

to hit (a ball) above the centre
to make (a stroke) by hitting the ball in this way

(chem) to distil off (the most volatile part) from a liquid mixture
to add other colorants to (a dye) in order to modify the shade produced
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

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
anything that spins or whirls around
sleep like a top, to sleep very soundly
combining form
a variant of topo-
temporarily out of print
Tonga-pa’anga (currency)

top banana
top brass
top dog
top dollar
top drawer
top off
top out
top to toe


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