topsy-turvy


topsy-turvy

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

  1. turned upside down; inverted; reversed: a topsy-turvy reflection.
  2. confused or disorderly: a topsy-turvy classroom.

noun, plural top·sy-tur·vies.

  1. inversion of the natural order.
  2. a state of confusion or disorder.

adjective

  1. upside down
  2. in a state of confusion

adverb

  1. in a topsy-turvy manner

noun

  1. a topsy-turvy state
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.

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