sleep like a top


2 [top]
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.

before 1100; Middle English, Old English; cognate with Frisian, dialectal Dutch top Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
top1 (tɒp)
1.  the highest or uppermost part of anything: the top of a hill
2.  the most important or successful position: to be at the top of the class; the top of the table
3.  the part of a plant that is above ground: carrot tops
4.  a thing that forms or covers the uppermost part of anything, esp a lid or cap: put the top on the saucepan
5.  the highest degree or point: at the top of his career
6.  the most important person: he's the top of this organization
7.  the best or finest part of anything: we've got the top of this year's graduates
8.  the loudest or highest pitch (esp in the phrase top of one's voice)
9.  the beginning: the top of the hour; at the top of the programme
10.  short for top gear
11.  cards the highest card of a suit in a player's hand
12.  sport
 a.  a stroke that hits the ball above its centre
 b.  short for topspin
13.  a platform around the head of a lower mast of a sailing vessel, the edges of which serve to extend the topmast shrouds
14.  chem the part of a volatile liquid mixture that distils first
15.  a garment, esp for a woman, that extends from the shoulders to the waist or hips
16.  a.  the high-frequency content of an audio signal
 b.  (as modifier): this amplifier has a good top response
17.  informal blow one's top to lose one's temper
18.  on top of
 a.  in addition to: on top of his accident, he caught pneumonia
 b.  informal in complete control of (a difficult situation, job, etc)
19.  off the top of one's head with no previous preparation; extempore
20.  over the top
 a.  over the parapet or leading edge of a trench
 b.  over the limit; excessive(ly); lacking restraint or a sense of proportion
21.  the top of the morning a morning greeting regarded as characteristic of Irishmen
22.  of, relating to, serving as, or situated on the top: the top book in a pile
23.  informal (Brit) excellent: a top night out
vb , tops, topping, topped
24.  to form a top on (something): to top a cake with whipped cream
25.  to remove the top of or from: to top carrots
26.  to reach or pass the top of: we topped the mountain
27.  to be at the top of: he tops the team
28.  to exceed or surpass
29.  slang to kill
30.  (also intr) sport
 a.  to hit (a ball) above the centre
 b.  to make (a stroke) by hitting the ball in this way
31.  chem to distil off (the most volatile part) from a liquid mixture
32.  to add other colorants to (a dye) in order to modify the shade produced
33.  top and tail
 a.  to trim off the ends of (fruit or vegetables) before cooking them
 b.  to wash a baby's face and bottom without immersion in a bath
[Old English topp; related to Old High German zopf plait, Old Norse toppr tuft]

top2 (tɒp)
1.  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
2.  anything that spins or whirls around
3.  sleep like a top to sleep very soundly
[Old English, of unknown origin]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

"highest point," O.E. top "summit, crest, tuft," from P.Gmc. *tuppaz (cf. O.N. toppr "tuft of hair," O.Fris. top "tuft," O.Du. topp, Du. top, O.H.G. zopf "end, tip, tuft of hair," Ger. Zopf "tuft of hair"); no certain connections outside Gmc. except a few Romanic words probably borrowed from Gmc. Few
IE languages have a word so generic, which can be used of the upper part or surface of just about anything. More typical is Ger., which has Spitze for sharp peaks (mountains), oberfläche for the upper surface of flat things (such as a table). The verb meaning "put a top on" is from 1581; the meaning "be higher or greater than" is first recorded 1582. To top off "finish" is colloquial from 1836; top-hat is from 1881; topper "the best (of anything)" first recorded in slang, 1709; topping "top layer" is first attested 1839. Top-heavy is first attested 1533. Top dog first attested 1900; top-drawer (1920) is from Brit. expression out of the top drawer "upper-class." Topless "bare-breasted" first recorded 1966 (earlier it was used of men's bathing suits, 1937); tops "the best" is from 1935.

"toy that spins on a point," late O.E. top, probably a special use of top (1), but the modern word is perhaps via O.Fr. topet, which is from a Gmc. source akin to the root of Eng. top (1). As a type of seashell, first recorded 1682.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Abbreviations & Acronyms
  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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