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[top-hev-ee] /ˈtɒpˌhɛv i/
having the top disproportionately heavy; liable to fall from too great weight above.
relatively much heavier or larger above the center or waist than below:
a top-heavy wrestler.
  1. having a financial structure overburdened with securities that have priority in the payment of dividends.
  2. overcapitalized.
Origin of top-heavy
First recorded in 1525-35; top1 + heavy
Related forms
top-heavily, adverb
top-heaviness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for top-heavy
Historical Examples
  • "And you're getting it so high it's top-heavy," cautioned Mrs. Drelmer.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • But the weight of the stones makes him top-heavy; he falls in and is drowned.


    Benjamin Taylor
  • And your skull will be so top-heavy with prudence, that it will be difficult for you to keep on your feet.

    The Cycle of Spring Rabindranath Tagore
  • It was almost a miracle that the top-heavy sled did not upset.

    The Camp in the Snow William Murray Graydon
  • top-heavy was the ship as a dinnerless student with all Aristotle in his head.

    Moby Dick; or The Whale Herman Melville
  • The top-heavy youth closed his magazine and unlocked a brain-cell.

    The Promise James B. Hendryx
  • Like most overgrown creatures he was top-heavy and lethargic and very humble-minded.


    Ian Hay
  • I must have a coachman with a top-heavy wig, and horses so big that they frighten me.

    Framley Parsonage

    Anthony Trollope
  • I still observe the top-heavy "Household Words" in the title.

  • It is so aggravatingly shallow, so infernally hot to hold, and so top-heavy.

    The American Egypt Channing Arnold
British Dictionary definitions for top-heavy


unstable or unbalanced through being overloaded at the top
(finance) (of an enterprise or its capital structure) characterized by or containing too much debt capital in relation to revenue or profit so that too little is left over for dividend distributions; overcapitalized
(of a business enterprise) having too many executives
Derived Forms
top-heavily, adverb
top-heaviness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for top-heavy

1530s, from top (n.1) + heavy.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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