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1. To complete the topmost portion or story of a building that is under construction. A noun or pronoun can be used between "top" and "out." The construction company announced that they would be topping out the new courthouse this weekend. They said they would top the hotel out months ago, but it's still sitting there unfinished.
2. To fill some vessel, especially a cargo ship, to its limit. A noun or pronoun can be used between "top" and "out." The pirates topped their ship out with gold and jewels they had plundered. The furniture topped out the moving truck all on its own, so I don't know how we'll get all our boxes of stuff to the new house.
3. To reach an upper limit; to stop going any higher. Their market value topped out at $134 per share.
4. To cause something to cease going higher. A noun or pronoun can be used between "top" and "out." The federal reserve announced that it would be topping interest rates out at 8%. At the request of their boss, I topped out the company's bar tab at $500.
5. To retire from one's work, especially at the peak of one's success. Morgan decided to top out after selling her startup for nearly $12 million. I could see that the market bubble was set to burst anytime, so I topped out while the getting was good.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.