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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
1525-35; top1 + heavy
Related forms
top-heavily, adverb
top-heaviness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for top-heavy
  • The result was a top-heavy economy with more and more money flowing into increasingly unstable and mysterious instruments.
  • Prepare your home by securing bookcases and other top-heavy objects to the wall, and store large and heavy items on lower shelves.
  • It is using axes to chop frozen spray from wheelhouse and mast before the boat becomes top-heavy and rolls under.
  • And there's no question that public school budgets are bloated: top-heavy with administration, for starters.
  • The top-heavy composition, funnelling energy downward, jolts.
  • The military was everywhere burdened by a top-heavy bureaucracy, with too many layers of staff that needed pampering.
  • Many in attendance feared the ship would be top-heavy and sink, but it soon righted itself.
  • Flexible straps, for example, can be used to secure top-heavy furniture so the objects don't fall over during an earthquake.
  • Topped trees can develop unsafe top-heavy growth or rot from the top.
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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