1727, from French toupet "tuft of hair, forelock," diminutive formed from Old French top "tuft, forelock, topknot" (12c.), from Frankish *top or another Germanic source related to top (n.1) "highest point." Originally an artificial curl or lock on the top of the head; a style, not necessarily a compensation for baldness. In 18c., also sometimes used of a person who wears a toupee. Slang short form toup is recorded from 1959.
updated on February 12, 2014