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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
Historical Examples
  • Before moving the point of the boom is lowered to a level position so that the derrick is not top-heavy.

    Farm Mechanics Herbert A. Shearer
  • top-heavy was the ship as a dinnerless student with all Aristotle in his head.

    Moby Dick; or The Whale Herman Melville
  • The horses started, and the stage rumbled off, swaying this way and that, as if top-heavy.

    Frank's Campaign Horatio Alger, Jr.
  • I must have a coachman with a top-heavy wig, and horses so big that they frighten me.

    Framley Parsonage Anthony Trollope
  • "And you're getting it so high it's top-heavy," cautioned Mrs. Drelmer.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • Bill made a rush for it, but losing a slice of his top-heavy comb, retired.

    Springhaven R. D. Blackmore
  • And there must also be an ocean between northern Europe and northern Asia, else the world would be top-heavy and turn upside down.

    Vikings of the Pacific Agnes C. Laut
  • But the Hole in the Wall was not only top-heavy, but also most alarmingly lopsided.

    The Hole in the Wall Arthur Morrison
  • I could hardly rid myself of the fear that, being so top-heavy, we would blow over.

    Tenting on the Plains Elizabeth B. Custer
  • The twin craft were top-heavy, and lurched in the grip of the stream.

    For Jacinta Harold Bindloss
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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