- with the top where the bottom should be; upside down.
- in or into a reversed condition or order.
- in or into a state of confusion or disorder.
- turned upside down; inverted; reversed: a topsy-turvy reflection.
- confused or disorderly: a topsy-turvy classroom.
- inversion of the natural order.
- a state of confusion or disorder.
Origin of topsy-turvy
Examples from the Web for topsy-turvy
Why cannot he carry his zeal for topsy-turvy horticulture elsewhere?Views and Reviews
William Ernest Henley
We may read this cable wrong but it seems to us to embody a topsy-turvy tactic!Gallipoli Diary, Volume 2
It was a topsy-turvy world in which the dogs found themselves of late.Mary Gray
It was her introduction to the topsy-turvy world into which she had come.Gigolo
It was that topsy-turvy product—an "exclusive" commercial enterprise.The Innocence of Father Brown
G. K. Chesterton
- upside down
- in a state of confusion
- in a topsy-turvy manner
- a topsy-turvy state
Word Origin and History for topsy-turvy
1520s, "but prob. in popular use from an earlier period" [OED], likely from tops, plural of top (n.1) "highest point" + obsolete terve "turn upside down, topple over," from Old English tearflian "to roll over, overturn," from Proto-Germanic *terbanan (cf. Old High German zerben "to turn round"). The Century Dictionary (1902) calls it "A word which, owing to its popular nature, its alliterative type, and to ignorance of its origin, leading to various perversions made to suggest some plausible origin, has undergone, besides the usual variations of spelling, extraordinary modifications of form." It lists 31 variations.