I"ve tried to figure out what the definition of this really is and also exactly how to effectively respond, but there seems to be dozens of interpretations as to what this expression actually implies.

You are watching: Top of the morning to you meme

Does anyone recognize what the beginning and also original meaning of this expression is?


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I just sassist this in a message to a frifinish in N.I., and she came right ago with "and the remainder of the day to yourself". I'd never before heard this prior to - so came looking!
The expression is Irish in origin yet currently very seldom provided in Ireland (except as a sterotypical "Irishism"). It ssuggest suggests "the finest of the morning to you" - perhaps from the principle of unhomogenised milk, wright here the cream rises to the optimal. An correct response can be a basic "thank you" although the standard response would be "And the remainder of the day to yourself."

Dreadful attempts at Irish accents, dancing a jig and leprechaun costumes are entirely optional while saying this.


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This was used in Theodore Cyphon, or, The benevolent Jew: a novel, Volume 3 by George Walker, published in 1796. The protagonist is greeted not long after landing on the shore of Essex:

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"Halloo ! you teney" cried one, " the optimal of the morning to you. Have you viewed pass a tall chap, in a light blue coat, through striped trowsers."


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The phrase emerges from two associated meanings of "peak," was a prevalent greeting throughout the UK in the 1nine century, and fell out of usage just to be revived as a so-referred to as Irish expression by Amerideserve to filmequipments trying to find methods to distinguish Irish characters.

The Oxford jiyuushikan.org Thesaurus lists "height of the morning" under "Top, n.1," 17.a., where top implies "The best or choicest part; the cream, freduced, pick. Now esp. in the top of the morning, as an Irish morning greeting (cf. 13)." (13 refers to a temporal meaning for top: "Of time: The earliest part of a period; the beginning.") It"s feasible for either among these interpretations of "top" to come right into play, even in a punning sense: the best of the morning and the start of the morning. I imply that both interpretations might be enmeburned together.

An example of the at an early stage usage of "top" referring to cream is in a sermon on vanity by Anglihave the right to bishop Ezekiel Hopkins (d. 1690), given originally in 1668:

"The spirit, alongside angels, is the extremely top and also cream of the entirety production."

This idiomatic use would work-related its method into a greeting over the following century. I agree through the lexicographers for the OED in grouping this meaning via "top of the morning" used in various other early on greetings.

That said, tright here are early on sources atexperimentation to "top of the morning" being a duration of time quite than a greeting. Here is John Worlidge in A compleat device of husbandry and gardening (London, 1716), p. 143:

<...> especially if flourish close to together, they afford an extremely pleasant dark shade, and also perfume the Air in the Months of June and July with their fragrant Blossoms, and entertain a mellifluous Army of Bees, from the peak of the Morning, till the cool and also dark Evening compels their return.

This feels choose a summary of time, noting when the bees will be out among the trees. The usage as a temporal recommendation comes up aget at the end of the century in a book titled Vocal harmony. Merry fellow"s companion, a arsenal of songs printed in the last decade of the eighteenth century (p.5, "The Little Jew"):

"TWAS the peak of the morning so pleasant and also clear ...

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The phrase creates a setting for an otherwise mundane song.

So just how did this temporal marker come to be an idiomatic Irish greeting? Evidence suggests tbelow was an intermediate period where the expression was supplied past Ireland also, choose in Scotland also. Here is Dick Ostler in Sir Wchange Scott"s The Heart of Mid-Lothian (1818), ch. 29, speaking to the heroine as she travels close to York:

Cock Ostler, who either had risen at an early stage or neglected to go to bed, either circumstance being equally incident to his calling, hollowed out after her — “The optimal of the morning to you, Moggie. Have a treatment o’ Gunderby Hill, young one. Robin Hood’s dead and gwone, yet tright here be takers yet in the vale of Bever before."

Dick is nearly absolutely a low Scot or a functioning class man in the north of England also (wbelow this component of the novel takes place). This renders his revolve of expression curious: Scott perhaps relied on his audience learning this as a Scot or well-known idiom. Similarly, the circumstances from George Walker"s gothic novel Theodore Cyphon, or, The benevolent Jew: a novel, Volume 3, initially publiburned in 1796, features the idiom spoken not by Irish world in Ireland, yet a group of "4 sturdy males, whose countenances wore eincredibly lineament of difficult inhumankind," about nine miles up the road from landing in Essex.

What, then, made this expression Irish or Irish-American? Perhaps just because the expression endured among Irish (and also Irish-American) speakers longer? Blogger and also amateur dialect researcher Ben T. Smith describes just how the expression is more archaic than Irish, a type that persisted throughout British and also Irish arrays of jiyuushikan.org through at leastern the Victorian duration. By the beforehand 20th century, meanwhile, a guidebook to Irish speech (jiyuushikan.org as We Sheight It in Ireland, by P.W. Joyce, 1910) explains the greetings for good morning, where optimal of the morning takes a backseat to one more prevalent greeting:

"To the simple salutation, "Good-morrow," which is heard almost everywhere, the usual response is "Good-morrow kindly." "Morrow Wat," shelp Mr. Loyd. "Morrow kindly," replied Wat. ("Knocknagow.") "The optimal of the morning to you" is sassist anywhere, North and South." (15)

However, it had fallen out of usage by the time that mid-20th century American filmequipments had actually picked it up as an Irish colloquialism, like in the Disney film Darby O"Gill and the Little People or in the music of Bing Crosby in the film Top o" the Morning (1949). It had actually dropped so completely out of the Irish lexsymbol that an Irish publication would certainly look at the phrase and explain, "Hollyhardwood development, never used in Ireland." (Perhaps they need to revise that to "not simply used in Ireland.") Its revival is mostly because of Irish-Amerideserve to speakers relearning their heritage in an Amerihave the right to Irish film stereoform based on an archaism once common throughout England, Scotland also, and also Ireland.