Where does 'top o the morning to you' come from?

This saying actually comes from New Zealand. They believe that they are at the top of the world not the bottom and hence say, "Top of the Morning." Over the years, it has been mistakenly assumed that this phrase originated in Ireland.

Following are more opinions from WikiAnswers contributors:

  • It's just something people say, it's like good morning. top is the highest point, and can also mean best. like tiptop shape. so best of the morning...have a good morning
  • No one in Ireland will use this phrase in common parlance.
  • I'm Irish born and bred, and I can tell you that Irish people do not use this phrase. I once asked my Grandfather, (born in 1913) if he ever heard it used and his reply was that it was just something that Irish characters say in American movies.
  • If it is an expression that originated here in the U.S., so be it. It's a kind salutation that does no harm and somewhere along the line got associated with Irish Americans.
  • I was recently in Ireland and spoke with a number of Irish people who said they had never heard of this saying. I believe it came from a Hollywood movie and not from the Irish!
  • "Top o the morning to you" is the first part of an Irish greeting. The correct response to this greeting is "and the balance of the day to yourself". The origin of this is, as previously stated, "top is the highest point" so "best of the morning to you", response "and the balance of the day to yourself" meaning "thank you for wishing me a good morning, I now wish you a good afternoon".
  • While it is very likely that this expression is no longer in use in Ireland it is vain to think that because it is not now used it never was. The Oxford English dictionary lists the expression as an old one originating in Ireland not New Zealand as some have reported. The contraction of "of" to "o" is distinctly Irish and not from New Zealand so the use of this phrase in New Zealand is unlikely.