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A top, usually having four lettered sides, that is used to play various games of chance.

[From earlier T totum (from the letter tee that appeared on one side of the toy), from totum, teetotum, from Latin tōtum, neuter sing. of tōtus, all; see teutā- in Indo-European roots.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


1. (Games, other than specified) a spinning top bearing letters of the alphabet on its four sides
2. (Games, other than specified) such a top used as a die in gambling games
[C18: from T totum, from T initial inscribed on one of the faces + totum the name of the toy, from Latin tōtum the whole]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(tiˈtoʊ təm)

a small top spun with the fingers, esp. one with four sides inscribed with letters.
[1710–20; earlier T totum, alter. of totum name of toy (< Latin tōtum, neuter of tōtus all) by prefixing its initial letter, which appeared on one side of the toy]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.teetotum - a conical child's plaything tapering to a steel point on which it can be made to spinteetotum - a conical child's plaything tapering to a steel point on which it can be made to spin; "he got a bright red top and string for his birthday"
humming top - a top that makes a humming noise as it spins
peg top - a pear-shaped top made of wood with a metal center pin
plaything, toy - an artifact designed to be played with
whip top, whipping top - a top that is spun by whipping
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in classic literature ?
"I see a thing like a teetotum spinning in and out--knocking into things-- dashing from side to side--collecting numbers--more and more and more, till the whole place is thick with them.
His fingers showed that the waltzing teetotums had spun over the edge of the counterpane and fallen off the bed into infinity.
Ask Polly; she 'll spin you round like a teetotum." "Mr.
Merry tumbled head foremost into the excavation; the man with the bandage spun round like a teetotum and fell all his length upon his side, where he lay dead, but still twitching; and the other three turned and ran for it with all their might.
"There isn't anybody here, you know, except the Other Professor and he isn't here!" he added wildly, turning round and round like a teetotum. "Children!
'Are you a child or a teetotum?' the Sheep said, as she took up another pair of needles.
Father Brown started and spun half round like an absurd teetotum. "What, what?" he cried seeming galvanized into sudden life.
While heaping these compliments on Mr Flintwinch, he rolled him about with a hand on each of his shoulders, until the staggerings of that gentleman, who under the circumstances was dryer and more twisted than ever, were like those of a teetotum nearly spent.
Wet days, when the rain came slowly, thickly, obstinately down; when the street's throat, like his own, was choked with mist; when smoking umbrellas passed and re-passed, spinning round and round like so many teetotums, as they knocked against each other on the crowded footway, throwing off a little whirlpool of uncomfortable sprinklings; when gutters brawled and waterspouts were full and noisy; when the wet from the projecting stones and ledges of the church fell drip, drip, drip, on Toby, making the wisp of straw on which he stood mere mud in no time; those were the days that tried him.
So imperturbable was the air with which he gravely bent to his work that Riderhood remained staring at him, without having found a retort, until he had rowed past a line of wooden objects by the weir, which showed like huge teetotums standing at rest in the water, and was almost hidden by the drooping boughs on the left bank, as he rowed away, keeping out of the opposing current.
Pictures, cigar cases, snuff, sewing and jewellery boxes all made from straw from the prisoners' bedding; mutton bones turned into everything from crude knuckle bone apple corers and so-called "teetotum" spinning gaming dice to elaborate and magnificent models of ships of the line, their rigging made from prisoners' own plaited hair; mechanical toys of miniature working models of spinning jennies and gruesome French guillotines complete with armed guards, canon and even a headless victimthere's so much to seek out.