General English


  • noun the highest point or part


  • noun the highest point or most important place

Cars & Driving


  • noun
    Same as top-spin See also over the top
    Citation ‘Inasmuch as every bowler should … try to reach the highest standard, he should do his best to acquire a command of off-break and leg-break, “top” and “hang”’ (Ranjitsinhji 1897)

Media Studies

  • noun an article at the top of a page


  • adjective the upper edge of a bound book or upper part of the page
  • verb to go higher than or to make a higher offer than something


  • adjective excellent, fashionable. A vogue term of approbation among adolescents from the late 1980s. In this sense, the word was probably adopted first in the north of England, later spreading to all other regions. Mint and fit were other fashionable synonyms from the same period.
  • verb to kill or execute (someone). The term, which is part of underworld jargon, has existed since the late 18th century when it referred to hanging.

Origin & History of “top”

English apparently has two distinct words top. The one meaning ‘uppermost part’ (OE) came from a prehistoric Germanic *toppaz, whose original meaning seems to have been ‘tuft of hair on top of the head, topknot’: this sense survived into English, although it has now died out, and amongst the other descendants of *toppaz are German zopf ‘plait’. The Germanic word was borrowed into Old French as top or toup ‘tuft of hair’, which is the ultimate source of English toupee (18th c.). And a variant of the base from which it was formed may lie behind English tip. Topple (16th c.) is a derivative of top.

It is generally assumed that top ‘spinning toy’ (11th c.) is a different word, but it is not known where it came from.