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top 1 (tŏp)
1. The uppermost part, point, surface, or end: wrote on the top of the box.
2. The part farthest from a given reference point: took a jump shot from the top of the key.
3. The crown of the head: from top to toe.
4. The part of a plant, such as a rutabaga, that is above the ground.
5. Something, such as a lid or cap, that covers or forms an uppermost part.
6. A garment worn on the upper half of the body.
7. Nautical A platform enclosing the head of the lower section of a mast of a square-rigged vessel, to which the topmast shrouds are attached.
8. The highest degree, pitch, or point; the peak, acme, or zenith: "It had come at a time when he was not feeling at the top of his form" (Anthony Powell).
a. The highest position or rank: at the top of his profession.
b. A person in this position.
10. Games The highest card or cards in a suit or hand.
11. The best part.
12. The earliest part or beginning: She played the piece again, from the top.
13. Baseball The first half of an inning.
14. Sports
a. A stroke that lands above the center of a ball, as in golf or tennis, giving it a forward spin.
b. A forward spin on a ball resulting from such a stroke.
15. Slang One who penetrates the other person or is the dominant partner in a sexual encounter or relationship.
1. Situated at the top: the top shelf.
2. Of the highest degree, quality, rank, or amount: in top form; the top ten bestsellers.
3. In a position of preeminence: the top historian in her department.
v. topped, top·ping, tops
1. To form, furnish with, or serve as a top: topped the ice cream with jimmies.
2. To reach or go over the top of: The car topped the hill.
3. To exceed or surpass: The car's speed topped 80 miles an hour. Her performance really topped his.
4. To be at the head of: She topped her class.
5. To remove the top or uppermost part from; crop: topped the fruit trees.
6. Sports
a. To strike the upper part of (a ball), giving it forward spin.
b. To make (a stroke) in this way.
To make a finish, an end, or a conclusion.
Phrasal Verbs:
top off
1. To fill up (a container), especially when it is almost full to begin with.
2. To finish up.
top out
1. To put the framework for the top story on (a building).
2. To fill up (a ship, for example).
3. To cease rising: Interest rates topped out at 16 percent.
4. Informal To give up one's career just as one becomes highly successful.
off the top of (one's) head Informal
In an impromptu way: She recited the poem off the top of her head.
on top
1. At the highest point or peak.
2. In a dominant, controlling, or successful position.
on top of Informal
1. In control of.
2. Fully informed about: a senator who is always on top of the issues.
3. In addition to; besides: On top of this, several other benefits are being offered.
4. Following closely on; coming immediately after: Hail came on top of a violent thunderstorm.
on top of the world Informal
In a position of great happiness or success.
over the top
1. Surpassing a goal or quota.
2. Excessively expressive or dramatic.
3. Over the breastwork, as an attack in trench warfare: "a whole battalion, onto the beachhead, over the top" (Margaret Atwood).

[Middle English, from Old English.]
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The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
top 2 (tŏp)
A toy having one end tapered to a point, allowing it to be spun, as by suddenly pulling a string wound around it.

[Middle English, from Old English.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Variant of topo-.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.

Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices

    Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.