Sense: 1-25
Origin: Old English topp
Sense: 26-27
Date: 1000-1100
Origin: Origin unknown


1 noun
top1 S1 W2 [countable]

highest part

the highest part of something [≠ bottom]
top of
The tops of the mountains were still covered with snow.
She could only just see over the tops of their heads.
at the top (of) something
He was standing at the top of the stairs.
We'll sit down once we're at the top.
Write your name at the top of the page.
to the top (of) something
Stop and wait for us when you get to the top of the slope.
I filled the glass right to the top.
The book I wanted was at the very top of the pile.
We could just see the white clifftops in the distance.

upper surface

the flat upper surface of an object:
a low wooden table with a glass top
top of
We walked along the top of the ancient city walls.
on (the) top of something
She put the papers down on the top of the piano.
Her fingers drummed on the table top.

best position

the top

the best, most successful, or most important position in an organization, company, or profession [≠ bottom]
the top of
He has reached the top of his profession.
at the top (of something)
It's the people at the top who make the decisions.
to the top (of something)
All young footballers dream of making it to the top.
the groups that are currently at the top of the tree (=the highest position in a profession) in the pop world


D something that you put on or over an object to cover it, protect it, or prevent liquid coming out of it:
I can't get the top off the jar.
You've left the top off the toothpaste again!
Can you put the top back on the bottle when you've finished with it?
bottle top/pen top etc
Has anyone seen my pen top?


DCC a piece of clothing that you wear on the upper part of your body:
She was wearing a stripy knitted top.
a skirt with a matching top
a bikini top
I can't find my pyjama top.

be (at the) top of the list/agenda

something that is at the top of a list will be dealt with or discussed first:
Europe is once again at the top of the political agenda.

on top

a) on the highest part or surface of something:
The cake was a bit burnt on top.
a high roof with a chimney on top
b) HBH on the highest part of your head:
Can you cut it quite short on top, please.
c) winning in a game or competition:
After the first set, the Australian was comfortably on top.

on top of something

a) on the highest surface of something:
There should be an envelope on top of the fridge.
b) in complete control of a situation:
Don't worry; I'm back on top of things now.
I should be more on top of my work next week.
c) if something bad happens to you on top of something else, it happens when you have other problems:
On top of everything else, I now have to go to work next Saturday!

one on top of the other

also on top of one another in a pile:
We stacked the crates one on top of the other.

on top of somebody

if something dangerous or threatening is on top of you, it is very near you:
The truck was almost on top of us.

get on top of somebody

if your work or a problem gets on top of you, it begins to make you feel unhappy and upset:
Things are starting to get on top of him.

come out on top

to win a difficult struggle or argument, especially one that has continued for a long time:
It's difficult to predict who will come out on top.

on top of the world

informal extremely happy:
When I heard she'd been released I felt on top of the world!


HBPDF the part of a fruit or vegetable where it was attached to the plant, or the leaves of a plant whose root you can eat:
Cut the tops off the tomatoes.
I've found a recipe for beetroot tops.

street/field etc

SG the part of the street or of a piece of land that is the furthest away from you:
I waited at the top of East Street.

the top of the milk

British English the cream that rises to the top of a bottle of milk

the top of the table

the part of a long dinner table where the most important people sit

off the top of your head

informal if you say something off the top of your head, you say it immediately, without thinking carefully about it or checking the facts:
Just off the top of my head, I'd say there were about 50.

sing/shout at the top of your voice

to sing or shout as loudly as you can:
Angela ran out of the house, shouting at the top of her voice.

from the top

spoken an expression meaning from the beginning, used especially in the theatre:
Right, let's take it from the top once more.

from top to bottom

if you clean or search somewhere from top to bottom, you do it very thoroughly:
The whole house needs cleaning from top to bottom.

from top to toe

if a person is dressed or covered in something from top to toe, they are completely dressed or covered in it:
They were covered in mud from top to toe.

the top and bottom of it

British English spoken the general result or meaning of a situation, expressed in a few words:
He's trying to embarrass you, that's the top and bottom of it.

not have much up top

British English spoken to be not very intelligent:
Poor Nigel, he doesn't have very much up top.


spoken used after a number to say that it is the highest possible amount of money you will get:
It'll cost you £200, £250 tops.


DHT a child's toy that spins around on its point when you twist it

spin like a top

to spin or turn round very quickly:
The impact of the blow sent me spinning like a top.

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