I"ve tried to number out what the definition of this really is and how to appropriately respond, however there appears to be dozens the interpretations regarding what this expression actually means.

You are watching: Top of the mornin to ya meaning

Does anyone understand what the origin and also original meaning of this expression is?


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I simply said this in a article to a girlfriend in N.I., and also she come straight back with "and the remainder of the day come yourself". I'd never ever heard this prior to - so came looking!
The expression is ireland in origin yet now really rarely used in Ireland (except together a sterotypical "Irishism"). It simply means "the ideal of the morning come you" - maybe from the idea of unhomogenised milk, wherein the cream rises to the top. An appropriate response might it is in a an easy "thank you" although the traditional an answer would be "And the rest of the day come yourself."

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


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This was used in Theodore Cyphon, or, The benevolent Jew: a novel, Volume 3 through George Walker, published in 1796. The protagonist is greeted not lengthy after landing top top the coast of Essex:

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"Halloo ! girlfriend teney" cry one, " the optimal of the morning come you. Have actually you checked out pass a high chap, in a irradiate blue coat, through striped trowsers."


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The phrase emerges from two related definitions of "top," to be a typical greeting throughout the united kingdom in the 19th century, and also fell the end of use just to be revitalized as a so-called ireland expression by American filmmakers looking for ways to differentiate Irish characters.

The Oxford historicsweetsballroom.com dictionary lists "top the the morning" under "Top, n.1," 17.a., where top method "The best or choicest part; the cream, flower, pick. Currently esp. In the height of the morning, together an ireland morning greeting (cf. 13)." (13 describes a temporal definition for top: "Of time: The earliest part of a period; the beginning.") It"s feasible for either among these definitions of "top" come come into play, also in a punning sense: the finest of the morning and the beginning of the morning. I imply that both definitions may be enmeshed together.

An instance of the early on use of "top" introduce to cream is in a sermon ~ above vanity by Anglican bishop Ezekiel Hopkins (d. 1690), given originally in 1668:

"The soul, next to angels, is the very top and also cream the the totality creation."

This idiomatic use would work its means into a greeting end the following century. I 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 beforehand sources attesting come "top that the morning" gift a duration of time rather than a greeting. Below is man Worlidge in A compleat mechanism of husbandry and also gardening (London, 1716), p. 143:

<...> specifically if flourish near together, lock afford a really pleasant dark shade, and also perfume the wait in the month of June and July with their fragrant Blossoms, and also entertain a mellifluous army of Bees, indigenous the top of the Morning, it rotates the cool and dark evening compels your return.

This feels prefer a description of time, noting as soon as the bees will certainly be out among the trees. The usage as a temporal referral comes up again in ~ the end of the century in a publication titled Vocal harmony. Funny fellow"s companion, a repertoire of songs printed in the last decade of the eighteenth century (p.5, "The tiny Jew"):

"TWAS the peak of the morning therefore pleasant and clear ...

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The phrase establishes a setting for an otherwise mundane song.

So exactly how did this temporal marker become an idiomatic ireland greeting? Evidence says there to be an intermediate period where the expression to be used beyond Ireland, prefer in Scotland. Here is cock Ostler in teacher Walter Scott"s The heart of Mid-Lothian (1818), ch. 29, speak to the heroine as she travels near York:

Dick Ostler, who either had actually risen early or neglected to walk to bed, one of two people circumstance being equally event to his calling, hollowed the end after her — “The top of the morning to you, Moggie. Have actually a care o’ Gunderby Hill, young one. Robin Hood’s dead and gwone, but there be takers yet in the vale of Bever."

Dick is virtually certainly a short Scot or a working course man in the phibìc of England (where this component of the novel takes place). This provides his rotate of expression curious: Scott perhaps relied top top his audience discovering this together a Scot or renowned idiom. Similarly, the instance from George Walker"s gothic novel Theodore Cyphon, or, The benevolent Jew: a novel, Volume 3, very first published in 1796, features the idiom spoken not by Irish people in Ireland, however a group of "four sturdy men, whose countenances wore every lineament of hard inhumanity," around nine miles up the roadway from landing in Essex.

What, then, do this expression ireland or Irish-American? perhaps only due to the fact that the expression survived amongst Irish (and Irish-American) speaker longer? Blogger and amateur dialect researcher Ben T. Smith explains how the expression is much more archaic 보다 Irish, a kind that persisted throughout British and also Irish arrays of historicsweetsballroom.com with at the very least the victor period. By the early on 20th century, meanwhile, a guidebook to ireland speech (historicsweetsballroom.com as We Speak it in Ireland, by P.W. Joyce, 1910) defines the greetings for an excellent morning, whereby top that the morning take away a backseat to one more common greeting:

"To the plain salutation, "Good-morrow," which is heard everywhere, the usual an answer is "Good-morrow kindly." "Morrow Wat," stated Mr. Loyd. "Morrow kindly," replied Wat. ("Knocknagow.") "The height of the morning to you" is said everywhere, North and South." (15)

However, it had fallen out of usage by the moment that mid-20th century American filmmakers had picked that up as an ireland colloquialism, favor in the Disney movie Darby O"Gill and the little People or in the music the Bing crosby in the movie Top o" the Morning (1949). It had dropped so completely out the the ireland lexicon the an ireland publication would look at the phrase and explain, "Hollywood invention, never ever used in Ireland." (Perhaps they should revise the to "not just used in Ireland.") Its rebirth is mainly because of Irish-American speakers rediscovering your heritage in one American irish film stereotype based upon an archaism once typical throughout England, Scotland, and also Ireland.