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[top] /tɒp/
the highest or loftiest point or part of anything; apex; summit.
Synonyms: zenith, acme, peak, pinnacle, vertex.
the uppermost or upper part, surface, etc., of anything.
the higher end of anything on a slope.
  1. a part considered as higher:
    the top of the street.
  2. high gear of an automobile.
  1. the part of a plant that grows above ground, especially of an edible root.
  2. 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.
  1. the best card of a suit in a player's hand.
  2. (in duplicate bridge) the best score on a hand.
  1. a stroke that hits the ball above its center.
  2. the forward spin given to the ball by such a stroke.
  1. the first half of an inning.
  2. 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).
  1. a cluster of textile fibers, especially tow, put on a distaff.
  2. a strand of the long wool fibers in sliver form, separated from noil by combing and wound into a large ball.
  3. 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.
verb (used with object), topped, topping.
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).
  1. to strike (the ball) above its center, giving it a forward spin.
  2. to make (a stroke) by hitting the ball in this manner.
to top-dress (land).
Obsolete. to have coitus with (a woman).
verb (used without object), topped, topping.
to rise aloft.
Verb phrases
top off,
  1. to climax or complete, especially in an exceptional manner; finish:
    They topped off the evening with a ferryboat ride at midnight.
  2. to fill (a partly full container) completely:
    to top off a gas tank.
top out,
  1. to finish the top of (a structure).
  2. to reach the highest level.
blow one's top, Informal.
  1. to become enraged; lose one's temper.
  2. 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,
  1. over or upon.
  2. in addition to; over and above.
  3. close upon; following upon:
    Gale winds came on top of the floods.
  4. in complete control:
    on top of the problem.
on top of the world,
  1. successful.
  2. elated:
    The success made her feel on top of the world.
over the top,
  1. Military. over the top of the parapet before a trench, as in issuing to charge against the enemy.
  2. surpassing a goal, quota, or limit.
top oneself, Chiefly British. to kill oneself.
before 1000; Middle English, Old English; cognate with Dutch top, German Zopf, Old Norse toppr top
Related forms
untopped, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for over the top
  • He runs a cutting device over the top of the molding table and shaves away the extra wax.
  • Superb alone, but also fabulous over the top of boiled new potatoes.
  • Crunchy on the outside, creamy and nutty inside, these fries are totally over the top.
  • Top with cider then squeeze lime wedge over the top and drop the wedge on in.
  • Dance lovers will find it so over the top that they are likely to be amused.
  • Nas seems to relish these kind of hands: start with an innocuous bet and then come over the top and take home the pile.
  • As a piece of singing, this performance is intentionally over the top-exciting but almost scary in its intensity.
  • It consisted of a plastic grocery bag stretched over the top of a five-gallon paint bucket.
  • Some of the claims in this article are a little over the top.
  • One must wonder what traversed the minds of its destroyers as they painted over the top.
British Dictionary definitions for over the top


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
  1. a stroke that hits the ball above its centre
  2. 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
  1. the high-frequency content of an audio signal
  2. (as modifier): this amplifier has a good top response
(informal) blow one's top, to lose one's temper
on top of
  1. in addition to: on top of his accident, he caught pneumonia
  2. (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
  1. over the parapet or leading edge of a trench
  2. 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)
  1. to hit (a ball) above the centre
  2. 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
  1. to trim off the ends of (fruit or vegetables) before cooking them
  2. to wash a baby's face and bottom without immersion in a bath
See also top off, top out, tops, top up
Word Origin
Old English topp; related to Old High German zopf plait, Old Norse toppr tuft


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
Word Origin
Old English, of unknown origin
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
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Word Origin and History for over the top



"highest point," Old English top "summit, crest, tuft," from Proto-Germanic *tuppaz (cf. Old Norse toppr "tuft of hair," Old Frisian top "tuft," Old Dutch topp, Dutch top, Old High German zopf "end, tip, tuft of hair," German Zopf "tuft of hair"); no certain connections outside Germanic except a few Romanic words probably borrowed from Germanic.

Few Indo-European languages have a word so generic, which can be used of the upper part or surface of just about anything. More typical is German, which has Spitze for sharp peaks (mountains), oberfläche for the upper surface of flat things (such as a table). Top dog first attested 1900; top-drawer (1920) is from British expression out of the top drawer "upper-class."

"toy that spins on a point," late Old English top, probably a special use of top (n.1), but the modern word is perhaps via Old French topet, which is from a Germanic source akin to the root of English top (n.1). As a type of seashell, first recorded 1680s.


"put a top on," 1580s, from top (n.1). The meaning "be higher or greater than" also is first recorded 1580s. Related: Topped; topping. To top off "finish" is colloquial from 1836;

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for over the top

over the top

adjective phrase

Beyond reason; outlandish: Makes no sense at all. Simply hilarious and over the top/ It would be over the top! It would be redundant! It would be ridiculous (1968+)



(also tootsie or tootsy or tootsiewootsie or tootsy-wootsy) A woman; doll • Often used in address, often disparagingly, and as a nickname: Not any more, toots, not any more, my precious darling angel/ How about one of those tootsiewootsies?/ He was also paying for a penthouse apartment on Park Avenue for his tootsie

[entry form 1936+, tootsie-wootsie 1895+; perhaps fr tootsie]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Related Abbreviations for over the top


  1. temporarily out of print
  2. Tonga-pa'anga (currency)
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Idioms and Phrases with over the top

over the top

Surpassing a goal or quota, as in The new salesmen are excellent; they were over the top within the first six months. [ Mid-1900s ]
Over the parapet of a military trench, as in The lieutenant sent fresh troops over the top. This usage dates from World War I.
Extreme, outrageous, as in This comedian's style goes over the top. [ ; late 1900s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Encyclopedia Article for over the top


a toy having a body of conical, circular, or oval shape, often hollow, with a point or peg on which it turns or is made to whirl. If given a knock, a spinning top will go around in a circle at a slant; if spun with a slant at the start, it will quickly stand upright until halted by friction. Its physical properties are similar to those of the gyroscope. Some tops, as the common peg top, are spun by means of a cord. Whipping tops are kept spinning by whips with a lash. Other tops are spun by a twist of the hand or the action of a spring or a plunger. Some hollow tops, such as the thunder tops of Japan, have holes cut in them to produce a hum or roar.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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