upside down


with the upper part undermost.
in or into complete disorder; topsy-turvy: The burglars turned the house upside down.

Origin of upside down

1300–50; re-formation (see upside) of Middle English upsedoun, earlier up so doun (see up, so1, down1; sense of so obscure)
Related formsup·side-down, adjectiveup·side-down·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for upside down

topsy-turvy, backwards, inverted, overturned, orderless

Examples from the Web for upside down

Contemporary Examples of upside down

Historical Examples of upside down

  • But Bunyip Bluegum said, 'Why not turn him upside-down and sit on him?'

    The Magic Pudding

    Norman Lindsay

  • You will at once perceive a faint, upside-down image of the flame on the tissue.

    How it Works

    Archibald Williams

  • After all, she may be a pirate, and the upside-down ensign a decoy.

  • If his nose had been upside-down, he would have made that respectable.

  • He looked back through his ankles and squinted at the upside-down world.


    Cory Doctorow

British Dictionary definitions for upside down

upside down


(usually postpositive; upside-down when prenominal) turned over completely; inverted
(upside-down when prenominal) informal confused; muddled; topsy-turvyan upside-down world


in an inverted fashion
in a chaotic or crazy manner
Derived Formsupside-downness, noun

Word Origin for upside down

C16: variant, by folk etymology, of earlier upsodown
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

Word Origin and History for upside down

late 15c., earlier upsadoun (late 14c.), up so down (c.1300); the so perhaps meaning "as if."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper