top banana


: the leading comedian in a burlesque show
broadly : kingpin sense 1

Examples of top banana in a Sentence

He's the mob's top banana.
Recent Examples on the Web So which restaurant did Yelp readers declare top banana? Phillip Valys, Sun Sentinel, 21 June 2022 Guillermo Rodriguez always fancied himself as the top banana. Lars Brandle, Billboard, 9 July 2019 This is, alas, the Yahweh of the early Hebrews, a fickle, petulant, seemingly amoral deity whose childish obsession is with proving himself top banana in the pantheon of primitive gods. Sam Sacks, WSJ, 12 July 2018 Companies, government agencies and institutes are spending millions of dollars on research and development to find a new top banana. Lucy Craymer, WSJ, 18 Dec. 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'top banana.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


from a burlesque routine involving three comedians in which the one that gets the punch line also gets a banana

First Known Use

1947, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of top banana was in 1947

Dictionary Entries Near top banana

Cite this Entry

“Top banana.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Sep. 2023.

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