top banana

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top banana

The person with the most authority, power, or influence in a group or organization. Primarily heard in US. When I was top banana of the business, I used to charge the most outrageous things to the company credit card. You'll only get a truthful answer if you manage to talk to one of the top bananas.
See also: banana, top

top banana

Also, top dog. The principal person in a group, organization, or undertaking, as in His plan was to be top banana within ten years, or Now that she's top dog you can't get hold of her at all. The first term comes from show business, where from the early 1900s it has signified the leading comedian (possibly the original allusion was to Frank Lebowitz, a burlesque comedian who used bananas in his act). It also gave rise to second banana, for a supporting actor, usually a straight man. Both were transferred to more general use in the second half of the 1900s, as in executive Peter Barton's statement, "There is a certain pain to being a second banana, but you have to have an ability to sublimate your ego," quoted in The New York Times, May 15, 1996. The variant, top dog, originated in sports in the late 1800s and signified the odds-on favorite or winner in a contest; it alludes to the dog who wins (comes out on top) in a dogfight.
See also: banana, top

top banana

the most important person in an organization or activity. informal, chiefly North American
The two expressions above originated in US theatrical slang. The top banana was originally the comedian who topped the bill in a show, while the second banana was the supporting comedian.
See also: banana, top

top banana

1. n. the lead comedian in a burlesque or vaudeville act. The top banana didn’t show up for the gig.
2. n. the boss; the leader or head of something. (see also big cheese, big enchilada.) You’ll have to ask the top banana. He’s out right now.
See also: banana, top

top banana

Headliner comedian in a vaudeville show. The phrase is said to have originated with a vaudevillian named Harry Steppe in 1927 from a skit in which three comics tried to figure out how to share two bananas. Steppe also claimed to have first used “second banana” to refer to the cast's number two comic. Comedian Phil Silvers popularized the phrase “Top Banana” when he used it as the title of his Broadway musical and movie.
See also: banana, top
References in periodicals archive ?
However, the country still remains the top banana exporter in Asia and second in the world.
The Davao region remains the top banana producer, accounting for 40 percent of aggregate production.
This affected society cannot be cured simply by organizing elections by the domestic "colleagues" of Dimitriev led by his party leader who is suspected for violence, criminal activities and electoral fraud unprecedented even in the top banana states in the world.
It's always best to stay the right side of the top banana...
The team builds resources from cash earned by tracking down, capturing, and collecting bounty on the rogue "deck of 52" and chew their way up the terrorist food chain to snare the top banana himself.
MARK HOLDEN has to take on the darts demons as well as the board every time he toes the oche, but the Top Banana is still a fruity price at 5-4 to see off Denis Ovens at the Circus Tavern.
GSK hired the Top Banana team to design and manage an unusual marketing campaign that would encourage buyers to stock their lifestyle drinks ranges during 2005.
AS far as lunch goes, Chris Risbey is the Top Banana. For Chris Risbey has this title printed on his business card.
We'll talk in an hour." The top banana grabs the phone and turns away.
"This is my contribution to the world, to get people to smile more often," explains the Top Banana.
Suzannah said: 'I'm thrilled to be joining the Top Banana team.
* the "petrified" banana (the Top Banana's favorite item)
Byline: By NEWSBOY The top banana peels off for Cheltenham
But, when Henry McLeish was the top banana, it was a different game - it was more convivial.