I"ve tried to number out what the definition of this really is and also how to appropriately respond, but there seems to be dozens that interpretations as to what this phrase actually means.

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Does anyone know what the origin and original an interpretation of this expression is?



I simply said this in a article to a girlfriend in N.I., and she came straight ago with "and the remainder of the day to yourself". I'd never heard this before - so come looking!
The expression is irish in origin however now really rarely used in Ireland (except as a sterotypical "Irishism"). It simply way "the ideal of the morning come you" - perhaps from the idea the unhomogenised milk, wherein the cream rises come the top. One appropriate solution might it is in a simple "thank you" return the traditional solution would it is in "And the rest of the day to yourself."

Terrible do the efforts at irish accents, dancing a jig and leprechaun costumes are completely optional while saying this.


This was provided in Theodore Cyphon, or, The benevolent Jew: a novel, Volume 3 by George Walker, released in 1796. The protagonist is greeted not lengthy after landing top top the shore of Essex:


"Halloo ! you teney" cry one, " the top of the morning to you. Have you checked out pass a high chap, in a light blue coat, through striped trowsers."


The phrase emerges from two related meanings of "top," to be a typical greeting transparent the united kingdom in the 19th century, and fell the end of use just to be revitalized as a so-called irish expression by American filmmakers searching for ways to distinguish Irish characters.

The Oxford sommos.net dictionary lists "top that the morning" under "Top, n.1," 17.a., wherein top way "The finest or choicest part; the cream, flower, pick. Now esp. In the peak of the morning, as an ireland morning greeting (cf. 13)." (13 refers to a temporal an interpretation for top: "Of time: The earliest part of a period; the beginning.") It"s possible for either among these meanings of "top" come come into play, even in a punning sense: the best of the morning and also the start of the morning. I suggest that both interpretations may be enmeshed together.

An instance of the at an early stage use the "top" referring to cream is in a sermon top top vanity by Anglican bishop Ezekiel Hopkins (d. 1690), given originally in 1668:

"The soul, alongside angels, is the an extremely top and cream the the totality creation."

This idiomatic use would work its way into a greeting over the next century. Ns agree with the lexicographers because that the OED in group this definition with "top that the morning" provided in other beforehand greetings.

That said, over there are early on sources attesting to "top of the morning" gift a period of time quite than a greeting. Below is john Worlidge in A compleat system of husbandry and also gardening (London, 1716), p. 143:

<...> specifically if prosper near together, they afford a an extremely pleasant dark shade, and perfume the waiting in the month of June and July through their fragrant Blossoms, and also entertain a mellifluous army of Bees, indigenous the peak of the Morning, it spins the cool and dark night compels their return.

This feels favor a summary of time, noting when the bees will certainly be out amongst the trees. The intake as a temporal reference comes increase again at the end of the century in a publication titled Vocal harmony. Merry fellow"s companion, a collection of songs published in the last decade of the eighteenth century (p.5, "The tiny Jew"):

"TWAS the top of the morning therefore pleasant and also clear ...

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The phrase develops a setup for one otherwise mundane song.

So how did this temporal marker end up being an idiomatic irish greeting? Evidence argues there was an intermediate duration where the expression to be used beyond Ireland, choose in Scotland. Here is penis Ostler in sir Walter Scott"s The love of Mid-Lothian (1818), ch. 29, speak to the heroine as she travels near York:

Dick Ostler, who either had risen at an early stage or neglected to walk to bed, one of two people circumstance gift equally incident to his calling, hollowed the end after she — “The top of the morning to you, Moggie. Have a treatment o’ Gunderby Hill, young one. Robin Hood’s dead and gwone, however there it is in takers yet in the vale of Bever."

Dick is virtually certainly a low Scot or a working class man in the phibìc of England (where this part of the novel takes place). This makes his rotate of phrase curious: Scott probably relied top top his audience knowing this as a Scot or renowned idiom. Similarly, the instance from George Walker"s gothic novel Theodore Cyphon, or, The benevolent Jew: a novel, Volume 3, an initial published in 1796, attributes the idiom spoken not by Irish people in Ireland, yet a group of "four sturdy men, who countenances wore every lineament of tough inhumanity," about nine mile up the roadway from landing in Essex.

What, then, do this expression irish or Irish-American? probably only because the expression survived amongst Irish (and Irish-American) speakers longer? Blogger and also amateur dialect researcher Ben T. Smith describes how the expression is more archaic than Irish, a form that persisted throughout British and also Irish arrays of sommos.net through at the very least the victorian period. By the beforehand 20th century, meanwhile, a guidebook to ireland speech (sommos.net as We Speak the in Ireland, by P.W. Joyce, 1910) explains the greetings for an excellent morning, wherein top that the morning take away a backseat to one more common greeting:

"To the ordinary salutation, "Good-morrow," i beg your pardon is heard everywhere, the usual solution is "Good-morrow kindly." "Morrow Wat," said Mr. Loyd. "Morrow kindly," replied Wat. ("Knocknagow.") "The height of the morning come you" is stated everywhere, North and also South." (15)

However, it had fallen the end of use by the time that mid-20th century American filmmakers had actually picked the up together an irish colloquialism, choose in the Disney film Darby O"Gill and also the little People or in the music the Bing crosby in the movie Top o" the Morning (1949). It had actually dropped so totally out the the ireland lexicon that an irish publication would look at the phrase and also explain, "Hollywood invention, never used in Ireland." (Perhaps they need to revise the to "not just used in Ireland.") Its renewal is mainly due to Irish-American speaker rediscovering their heritage in an American ireland film stereotype based upon an archaism once usual throughout England, Scotland, and also Ireland.