1. With the top downward and the bottom up; upside-down.
2. In or into a state of utter disorder or confusion: "turning our ordered life topsy-turvy" (Anne Tyler).
adj. top·sy-tur·vi·er, top·sy-tur·vi·est
1. Turned or positioned upside down; inverted.
2. Confused or disordered.
n. pl. top·sy-tur·vies
The quality or condition of being topsy-turvy.
[Probably from TOP1 + obsolete terve, to overturn (from Middle English terven).]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.