(the/a) top dog

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— There simply isn't enough room for both of us to work Beaumont-sur-Mer.
— You know what I think? I think you're scared.
— Of what?
— Me. Competition. You've been top dog in this town for so long, you think you own the place.

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, film

I wonder why 'top dog' here, and often in other cases, is used without an article. It's a countable noun after all.

Thank you.
  • Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    "The" would be okay but less idiomatic. "A" would not sound right as there is only one "top dog."
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