[ top-hev-ee ]
See synonyms for top-heavy on
  1. having the top disproportionately heavy; liable to fall from too great weight above.

  2. relatively much heavier or larger above the center or waist than below: a top-heavy wrestler.

  1. Finance.

    • having a financial structure overburdened with securities that have priority in the payment of dividends.

Origin of top-heavy

First recorded in 1525–35; top1 + heavy

Other words from top-heavy

  • top-heav·i·ly, adverb
  • top-heav·i·ness, noun

Words Nearby top-heavy Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use top-heavy in a sentence

  • Had the spire been added, the campanile would not have the rather top-heavy appearance it has when seen from some distance away.

    Cathedral Cities of Italy | William Wiehe Collins
  • The decorations made the canoe top-heavy and hard to guide, and they dared not paddle fast for fear of upsetting.

    Winona of the Camp Fire | Margaret Widdemer
  • top-heavy with the lion, he slid several yards down a steep place and fell over a precipice.

    Watched by Wild Animals | Enos A. Mills

British Dictionary definitions for top-heavy


  1. unstable or unbalanced through being overloaded at the top

  2. 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

  1. (of a business enterprise) having too many executives

Derived forms of top-heavy

  • 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