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[top-dres] /ˈtɒpˌdrɛs/
verb (used with object), top-dressed or top-drest, top-dressing.
to manure (land) on the surface.
Origin of top-dress
1725-35; top1 + dress

top dressing

a dressing of manure on the surface of land.
the action of one who top-dresses.
a top layer of gravel, crushed rock, etc., on a roadway.
Related forms
top dresser, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for top-dressing
Historical Examples
  • Apply a top-dressing of farm-yard manure to the beds before the frosts set in, as this will both nourish and protect the roots.

  • If there was any top-dressing he particularly fancied, he should have it.

    Once a Week Alan Alexander Milne
  • Where farmyard manure is used, the guano has been recommended to be used as a top-dressing in small quantities.

  • Many prefer to use a top-dressing of manure, regardless of conditions.

    Making a Lawn Luke Joseph Doogue
  • Paupers and quicklime would make a capital compost, and scarcely require a top-dressing, of any kind, for years.

    Dealings with the Dead, Volume I (of 2) A Sexton of the Old School
  • Of course it was applied as a top-dressing, mixed, however, with plaster.

    Guano Solon Robinson
  • To supply this nitrogen a top-dressing of nitrate of soda or sulphate of lime is helpful.

    Agriculture for Beginners Charles William Burkett
  • Some apply them extensively as a top-dressing for grass lands.

    Soil Culture J. H. Walden
  • Sandy clay and loam must be mixed for the top-dressing, but the proportion of each depends upon the nature of the clay.

    Making a Tennis Court George E. Walsh
  • It is usually best to pull out the weeds and give the border a top-dressing each fall of well rotted manure.

British Dictionary definitions for top-dressing


(transitive) to spread manure or fertilizer on the surface of (land) without working it into the soil

top dressing

a surface application of manure or fertilizer to land
a thin layer of loose gravel that covers the top of a road surface
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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