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top·​sy-tur·​vy ˌtäp-sē-ˈtər-vē How to pronounce topsy-turvy (audio)
: in utter confusion or disorder
: with the top or head downward : upside down


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: turned topsy-turvy : totally disordered
topsy-turvily adverb
topsy-turvydom noun


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Examples of topsy-turvy in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
It's already been a topsy-turvy start to the Big Ten season after Thursday's night's chaotic Minnesota-Nebraska finish. Jr Radcliffe, Journal Sentinel, 2 Sep. 2023 In a topsy-turvy battle, UAA topped Upper Iowa 3-2 (15-25, 25-13, 14-25, 25-13, 15-13) in the opening day of the Seawolf Invitational at Alaska Airlines Center. Chris Bieri, Anchorage Daily News, 1 Sep. 2023 That spark goes a bit topsy-turvy when the kind-hearted Adam invites Chloe, her dad and older brother to move into the basement of the Campbell house. Kaely Monahan, The Arizona Republic, 17 Aug. 2023 The world is topsy-turvy — and that’s putting it mildly. Dianna Mazzone, Allure, 3 Aug. 2023 Helping Barbie navigate her topsy-turvy new existence are other women. Willa Paskin, New York Times, 11 July 2023 In the topsy-turvy world of 2024 Republican politics, rivals of Donald Trump had been bracing for weeks for his second indictment with more dread than any sense of opportunity. Shane Goldmacher,, 9 June 2023 Through all the distractions and challenges of a topsy-turvy regular season and, yes, all those road losses, Curry and the defending NBA champions find themselves in a familiar place as May approaches: looking to close out a playoff series at home. Mark Heim |, al, 28 Apr. 2023 The move reflects growing demand for returns on savings as a topsy-turvy stock market, looming recession fears and aggressive interest rate hikes transform the old-fashioned savings account into a newly attractive financial option, personal finance experts told ABC News. Max Zahn, ABC News, 25 Apr. 2023
Within that film’s topsy-turvy multiverse, Quan was by turns a laundromat owner on the verge of divorcing his wife, a dashing romantic lead and an action hero. Mark Olsen, Los Angeles Times, 12 Mar. 2023 Pinsker’s characters always make the best of tricky situations, which only makes their struggles in her topsy-turvy worlds more heartbreaking. Charlie Jane Anders, Washington Post, 7 Mar. 2023 Her child was topsy-turvy all over the back seat with her shoes leaving marks on my back window. Abigail Van Buren, oregonlive, 7 Mar. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'topsy-turvy.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



probably ultimately from tops (plural of top entry 1) + obsolete English terve to turn upside down

First Known Use


1528, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1612, in the meaning defined above


1655, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of topsy-turvy was in 1528

Dictionary Entries Near topsy-turvy

Cite this Entry

“Topsy-turvy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


topsy-turvy adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on topsy-turvy

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