/top/, n., adj., v., topped, topping.
1. the highest or loftiest point or part of anything; apex; summit.
2. the uppermost or upper part, surface, etc., of anything.
3. the higher end of anything on a slope.
4. Brit.
a. a part considered as higher: the top of the street.
b. high gear of an automobile.
5. tops,
a. the part of a plant that grows above ground, esp. of an edible root.
b. one of the tender tips of the branches or shoots of plants.
6. the part of anything that is first or foremost; beginning: Let's go over it from the top again.
7. the highest or leading place, position, rank, etc.: at the top of the class.
8. the highest point, pitch, or degree: to talk at the top of one's voice.
9. a person or thing that occupies the highest or leading position.
10. the best or choicest part: the top of all creation.
11. a covering or lid, as of a container or vehicle.
12. the head.
13. any of various outer garments for the upper body, as a blouse, shirt, or sweater: a sale on cotton tops and shorts.
14. Naut. 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.
15. Chem. the part of a mixture under distillation that volatilizes first.
16. Bridge.
a. the best card of a suit in a player's hand.
b. (in duplicate bridge) the best score on a hand.
17. Sports.
a. a stroke that hits the ball above its center.
b. the forward spin given to the ball by such a stroke.
18. Baseball.
a. the first half of an inning.
b. the first three batters in the batting order.
19. Textiles.
a. a cluster of textile fibers, esp. tow, put on a distaff.
b. a strand of the long wool fibers in sliver form, separated from noil by combing and wound into a large ball.
c. a similar strand of rayon.
20. Jewelry. crown (def. 27).
21. blow one's top, Informal.
a. to become enraged; lose one's temper.
b. to go mad; become insane: He must have blown his top to make such a fool of himself.
22. off the top of one's head, Informal. See head (def. 56).
23. on top, successful; victorious; dominant: to stay on top.
24. on top of,
a. over or upon.
b. in addition to; over and above.
c. close upon; following upon: Gale winds came on top of the floods.
d. in complete control: on top of the problem.
25. on top of the world,
a. successful.
b. elated: The success made her feel on top of the world.
26. over the top,
a. Mil. over the top of the parapet before a trench, as in issuing to charge against the enemy.
b. surpassing a goal, quota, or limit.
27. the tops, Informal. the most outstanding person or thing in ability, favor, etc.: As a friend, she's the tops.
28. pertaining to, situated at, or forming the top; highest; uppermost; upper: the top shelf.
29. highest in degree; greatest: to pay top prices.
30. foremost, chief, or principal: to win top honors in a competition.
31. to furnish with a top; put a top on.
32. to be at or constitute the top of.
33. to reach the top of.
34. to rise above: The sun had topped the horizon.
35. to exceed in height, amount, number, etc.
36. to surpass, excel, or outdo: That tops everything.
37. Theat. (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.
38. to surmount with something specified: to top a sundae with whipped cream.
39. to remove the top of; crop; prune: to top a tall tree.
40. to get or leap over the top of (a fence, barrier, etc.).
41. Chem. to distill off only the most volatile part of (a mixture).
42. Sports.
a. to strike (the ball) above its center, giving it a forward spin.
b. to make (a stroke) by hitting the ball in this manner.
43. to top-dress (land).
44. Obs. to have coitus with (a woman).
45. to rise aloft.
46. top off,
a. to climax or complete, esp. in an exceptional manner; finish: They topped off the evening with a ferryboat ride at midnight.
b. to fill (a partly full container) completely: to top off a gas tank.
47. top oneself, Chiefly Brit. to kill oneself.
48. top out,
a. to finish the top of (a structure).
b. to reach the highest level.
[bef. 1000; ME, OE; c. D top, G Zopf, ON toppr top]
Syn. 1. zenith, acme, peak, pinnacle, vertex. 39. lop.
Ant. 1. bottom.
/top/, n.
1. a toy, often inversely conical, with a point on which it is made to spin.
2. sleep like a top, to sleep soundly: After a day of hiking and swimming we slept like tops.
[bef. 1100; ME, OE; c. Fris, dial. D 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.

      Tops were known to the ancient Greeks, and the Romans constructed tops out of boxwood or terra-cotta. The top was known in Europe as early as the 14th century, and in Shakespeare's day a large village top was frequently kept for use in cold weather as a warming-up exercise.

      Tops also have long been known in Asia, where they were made out of such natural materials as conch shells, gourds, nuts, bamboo, and stone. In Japan, top spinning has for centuries been a pastime of adults as well as of children.

      Humming tops were made from small gourds by the Maori of New Zealand. Because of their loud wailing sound, they were used in ceremonial mourning of the dead or to avenge a defeated clan. During Napoleon's time, a Chinese game known for centuries as Ko-en-gen was introduced in Europe as diablo and became the rage. A spool (“devil”) was whipped up by a cord, tossed up by the player, and caught again on the cord. The hexagonal teetotum (known to the ancient Greeks and Romans), marked distinctively on each on its six sides, has at times been used in place of dice.

      Tops are still popular in a variety of forms—e.g., a top of plastic and metal that plays choral reeds and changes colours while spinning.

* * *

Universalium. 2010.

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