Definition of top and tail in English:

top and tail


  • 1Remove the top and bottom of (a fruit or vegetable) while preparing it as food.

    ‘top and tail the beans and pull away any fibrous side threads’
    • ‘However, as he explains: a favourite way to cook young ones is to top and tail the pod, trim off the stringy edges and slice the pod very thin with the beans still in it.’
    • ‘Wipe, top and tail the aubergine and cut it into eight disks.’
    • ‘As soon as the beetroot is cool enough to handle, top and tail it and remove the skin.’
    • ‘We already know that if we want to eat a carrot safely, we need to generously peel, top and tail it first to remove organophosphate pesticides.’
  • 2Wash the face and bottom of (a baby or small child).

    • ‘Before the umbilical cord stump drops off, you can just top and tail your baby, using a bowl of warm water, baby lotion and a soft cloth or cotton wool.’
    • ‘If your baby doesn't like baths, ‘top and tail’ her on alternate days - use cotton wool and warm water for eyes and face, and a washcloth for hands and bottom.’


top and tail

/ˌtɒp ən(d) ˈteɪl/