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1. Complete the top portion of a building, as in They were scheduled to top out the dome next week. This idiom was first recorded in 1834.
2. Fill up a ship or complete its cargo, as in The ship was topped out with scrap iron. This idiom was first recorded in 1940.
3. Cease rising, as in Interest rates topped out at 10 percent. [Second half of 1900s]
4. Retire just as one becomes very successful, as in He decided that at sixty it was time to top out. [Colloquial; second half of 1900s]
1. To put the framework for the top story on some building: Workers topped out the tower with the last few beams. The contractor will top the building out at a ceremony on Tuesday.
2. To fill something, such as a ship, until it is full: The crew topped out the ship with cargo. We topped the rest of the box out with foam padding.
3. To cease rising; reach the highest point or degree: Interest rates topped out at 16 percent. The balloon rose for a while but finally topped out.