variants or topdress or top dress
top-dressed or topdressed or top dressed; top-dressing or topdressing or top dressing; top-dresses or topdresses or top dresses

transitive verb

: to apply material to (something, such as a road) without working it in
The unit can also be used to spread crushed rock in layers up to 12 cm thick for top-dressing roads.The Mining Journal
especially : to scatter or apply amendments (such as compost) over (soil or land)
If you are a religious composter, you can just top-dress your beds and borders with the contents of your bin. Craig Summers Black
Topdressing the acidic soils with the organic matter raises the pH and allows for vegetation to return. Gretchen Leslie

Word History

First Known Use

1733, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of top-dress was in 1733

Dictionary Entries Near top-dress

Cite this Entry

“Top-dress.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


: to apply material to (as land or a road) without working it in
especially : to scatter fertilizer over (land)
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!