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topsy-turvy

[top-see-tur-vee] /ˈtɒp siˈtɜr vi/
adverb
1.
with the top where the bottom should be; upside down.
2.
in or into a reversed condition or order.
3.
in or into a state of confusion or disorder.
adjective
4.
turned upside down; inverted; reversed:
a topsy-turvy reflection.
5.
confused or disorderly:
a topsy-turvy classroom.
noun, plural topsy-turvies.
6.
inversion of the natural order.
7.
a state of confusion or disorder.
Origin
1520-1530
1520-30; perhaps variant of top syd turvye topside down (with loss of d before t); turvy, variant of tervy, equivalent to obsolete terve to turn over (cognate with Old High German zerben) + -y1
Related forms
topsy-turvily, adverb
topsyturviness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for topsyturvy
  • Then, the topsyturvy aspects of the antipodes become less humorous and more threatening.
British Dictionary definitions for topsyturvy

topsy-turvy

/ˈtɒpsɪˈtɜːvɪ/
adjective
1.
upside down
2.
in a state of confusion
adverb
3.
in a topsy-turvy manner
noun
4.
a topsy-turvy state
Word Origin
C16: probably from tops, plural of top1 + obsolete tervy to turn upside down; perhaps related to Old English tearflian to roll over
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 topsyturvy

topsy-turvy

adv., adj.

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for topsyturvy

topsider

noun

A high executive, officer, manager, etc: sighed one Pentagon topsider last week/ and also ''delightfully puzzled,'' as one topsider put it

[1960s+; related to late 1800s British topside, ''in control, commanding,'' in turn related to the nautical term topside by the suggestion that the master of a ship works on the bridge, which is the highest deck of the ship]


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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