from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The sawyer who takes the upper stand in a saw-pit. Hence One who holds a higher position than another; a chief over others; a superior.
  • n. A person of consequence or importance; a prominent person.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • 'Mend this axle, me man, 'says one on 'em -- a top-sawyer be the looks on' im -- 'mend this axle, and quick about it. '

    The Broad Highway

  • "He'll be top-sawyer soon of you two, and carry all afore him," added jocular Mr. Tubber.

    The Mayor of Casterbridge

  • "I won't praise the doctor's wisdom till I hear what sort of bargain he's made," said the top-sawyer.

    The Woodlanders

  • The despicable thing in this Hubert Eldon is that, having got money once more, and in the dirtiest way, he puts on the top-sawyer just as if there was nothing to be ashamed of.


  • 'But,' said I, still more confused, '"The King is the top-sawyer," according to our proverb.

    Lorna Doone; a Romance of Exmoor

  • "I'll marry a top-sawyer," he used to say, whenever his uncle broached the question of his settlement in life.

    M. or N. "Similia similibus curantur."

  • "In this house, sir, for the last fifteen years I've been top-sawyer of the female gender."

    An Old Man's Love

  • A part of the machinery is always above this deck; where the connecting-rod, in a strong and lofty frame, is seen working away like an iron top-sawyer.

    American Notes

  • I have recorded the death of my foster-sister Mary; but, about this time, the top-sawyer, wishing to perpetuate the dynasty of the Brandons, began to enact _pater familias_ in a most reckless manner.

    Rattlin the Reefer

  • Brandon was a top-sawyer, but, as three out of the six working days of the week he was to be found with a pot of porter by his side, pipe in mouth, and the skittle-ball in his hand, it is not surprising that there was much misery in his home, which he often heightened by his brutality.

    Rattlin the Reefer


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.