Definition of top-shelf in US English:



  • 1North American Of a high quality; excellent.

    ‘top-shelf vocal talent’
    • ‘In recent months he has hired top-shelf talent to implement the company's transformation plan.’
    • ‘Crafted from sturdy die-cast aluminum and loaded with brainy features, the E - 10 is as top-shelf as they come.’
    • ‘Then, construct your hero as you might order a drink at the bar of the Four Seasons, ignoring the well brands and calling for top-shelf bottles.’
    • ‘Ivy League teams don't offer scholarships, but Carril's Princeton squads consistently beat major-conference teams stacked with top-shelf talent.’
    • ‘With a few beers in ya and a 3am curfew, these guys could definitely be top-shelf entertainment.’
    • ‘The Hotel Sliven was a Communist-era behemoth that I wouldn't recommend to anyone expecting top-shelf service and quality.’
    • ‘Try the first-rate mojitos, served with a sugar-cane stirrer, or a potent sangria, amped up with top-shelf liquors.’
    • ‘I said the line formed just left of the free, top-shelf bar and endless chocolate fondue fountain.’
    • ‘This was a label that dominated musically as well as attracting and nurturing top-shelf vocal talent.’
    • ‘Though they were tagged as a comedy act sometimes, Kyser's band was full of top-shelf pros.’
    • ‘And the company has hired a top-shelf lobbyist to press its point.’
    • ‘That alone is worth saluting, as are the top-shelf graphics, print-like layout and overall spirit of full on music exuberance.’
    • ‘Having said this, The Two Towers movie has the kind of scenes that send a thrill through the viewer - indicative for me of those rarest of top-shelf movies.’
    • ‘It's always frustrating to watch an artist with top-shelf talent reach that inadvertently satiated moment when there's really nothing important to say, nothing to add.’
    • ‘The Internet has made it very easy for candidates to translate momentum into contributions and volunteers (though not top-shelf organizers).’
    • ‘There's a tall glass-windowed case of top-shelf alcohol.’
    • ‘All drinks, excluding wine and top-shelf pours, are half off.’
    • ‘This is an outstanding group in terms of the top-shelf talent and the overall depth.’
    • ‘Whether you agree with it or not, it's top-shelf legal scholarship.’
    • ‘At only $2.50 a plate, you can afford a top-shelf martini go-with.’
  • 2British (of a magazine or other publication) pornographic.

    • ‘He is legendary for supplementing his grant by writing sexual fantasies for the top-shelf magazine Forum but he eventually got a respectable job as a trainee with the Mirror Group.’
    • ‘Sounds like a steamy top-shelf publication to us.’
    • ‘Naked women belong in top-shelf magazines, not in a publication which should inform on the news of the day (debatable, I concede).’
    • ‘The stories filtering out of rugby league and Aussie Rules clubs would turn the stomachs of readers of even the most hardcore top-shelf magazine.’
    • ‘You've got to be over a certain age to buy a top-shelf mag.’
    • ‘A mix of fiction, journalism and high-quality photography, it's a world away from the usual top-shelf titles.’
    • ‘What used to be top-shelf is now propped up in the shop window, so heaven only knows what's kept on the top shelf.’
    • ‘Here was top-shelf material being presented down the road from Buckingham Palace.’
    • ‘But then even the woman in the corner shop started selling top-shelf porn.’
    • ‘That was in spite of concerns among some Labour MPs about the newspapers being purchased by a company whose products include top-shelf magazines.’
    • ‘Little is left to the imagination, the Sunday Herald is reliably informed, as Paula bears all in November's edition of the top-shelf glossy.’
    • ‘We get to visit one American women's group which specialises in a form of photography normally associated with top-shelf magazines.’
    • ‘They diminish women by imagining them in a variety of uniforms from the very worst top-shelf publications because they know it's a foolproof way to put them in their place.’
    • ‘And Home Front is sort of like the glossy magazine - it's absolutely unattainable - that's the top-shelf version really, the soft porn.’
    • ‘And have the same prosecutors sought suit against corner shops for selling top-shelf material, which is consistently more explicit and also as accessible?’
    • ‘So, the more parents let their kids roam around alone online, the more adult checks there will have to be, because the parents expect the purveyors of porn to child-mind them on their behalf and make sure they don't see top-shelf material.’
    • ‘As the author repeatedly points out, the pornographic material he seized wasn't simply more explicit than 18-certificate films or top-shelf magazines.’
    • ‘Scotland on Sunday has learned that BoS provided over £5m in debt financing to a start-up called Remnant Media, which has bought 45 top-shelf magazines from Desmond for £20m.’
    • ‘Now there are almost gynaecological references to intimate sexual acts that were once the domain of lovers' pillow talk or top-shelf magazines.’
    • ‘You can read more about the ideas behind this magazine - published by a former editor of top-shelf mag Penthouse, no less - here.’