\ ˈtäp-ˌlīn How to pronounce top-line (audio) \

Definition of top-line

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : most featured or prominently advertised : leading … its oldest top-line act, the Rolling Stones, has long been taken as a symbol of the excesses of rock's nightmare side.— Ethan Mordden
b : of the highest quality, level, or degree : top-of-the-line The lauded ladies received top-line Southern hospitality …— Tim Allis The new chips may well make moderately priced workhorse computers—the type many people buy—perform more like today's top-line models.Consumer Reports
2 business : relating to or concerned with gross sales or revenue For real value creation, the merged company has to produce top-line growth and better margins through superior offerings to customers.— Geoffrey Colvin

top line

variants: or less commonly topline \ ˈtäp-​ˌlīn How to pronounce topline (audio) \
plural top lines also toplines

Definition of top line (Entry 2 of 2)

1 business : the line at the top of a financial report that shows gross sales or revenue before the deduction of expenses or losses The top line is weak, with a meager 0.3% sales gain last year, to $669 million, which doesn't even keep up with inflation.— Jack Gage When I first started writing about business, earnings stories focused on two numbers: sales (the top line on a company's income statement) and net income (the bottom line, after deducting all expenses including taxes).— Kathleen Pender — compare bottom line sense 2a
2 usually topline : the outline of the top of the body of an animal (such as a dog or horse) A long-legged, long-moving individual with long topline is considered the optimum type for the horse show.— Linda Connors

First Known Use of top-line


1894, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1877, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about top-line

Time Traveler for top-line

Time Traveler

The first known use of top-line was in 1877

See more words from the same year

Statistics for top-line

Cite this Entry

“Top-line.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Dec. 2020.

Comments on top-line

What made you want to look up top-line? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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