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[top-uh l] /ˈtɒp əl/
verb (used without object), toppled, toppling.
to fall forward, as from having too heavy a top; pitch; tumble down.
to lean over or jut, as if threatening to fall.
verb (used with object), toppled, toppling.
to cause to topple.
to overthrow, as from a position of authority:
to topple the king.
Origin of topple
1535-45; earlier top to tilt, topple (see tope1) + -le
Related forms
untoppled, adjective
4. defeat, vanquish, overcome, overpower. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for topples
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The legend, which had reared itself even as high as the throne of France, topples down.

    Legends of the Bastille Frantz Funck-Brentano
  • The stock will go up, up, up, till it topples over on the lambs.

    Halsey & Co. H. K. Shackleford
  • With these he struggles to his knees, and then by a prodigious effort to his feet, staggers a pace, and topples over.

  • We set her up, like she wants, and then she topples down and hollers.

    The Incubator Baby Ellis Parker Butler
  • Human judgment, like Luther's drunken peasant, when saved from falling on one side, topples over on the other.

    Pearls of Thought Maturin M. Ballou
  • When she rings in the morning she topples off and lands on the blankets.

  • Of course Poe loses his balance and topples backward once in a while—but he's getting over it.

    Kennedy Square F. Hopkinson Smith
British Dictionary definitions for topples


to tip over or cause to tip over, esp from a height
(intransitive) to lean precariously or totter
(transitive) to overthrow; oust
Word Origin
C16: frequentative of top1 (verb)
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 topples



1580s, "tumble down," earlier "to tumble or roll about" (1540s), from top (v.) + frequentative suffix -le. Related: Toppled; toppling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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