Select Page

September 24, 2022

Topsy-turvy / adverb / top·​sy-tur·​vy

We use the word topsy-turvy in English as an adverb, an adjective, and a noun. As an adverb, topsy-turvy defines things that go upside down.

In its adjective form, topsy-turvy represents things being placed upside down. As a noun, topsy-turvy means utter confusion and chaos.

Topsy-turvy is a reversal in the usual order or respect of things.

In a Sentence

The amusement park ride suddenly went topsy-turvy when it suddenly jumped off its track, making the riders panic.

The woman was deeply depressed because her life had suddenly become topsy-turvy, and everything seemed to fall apart at once.

The human resources manager quietly packed her things and left when she realized the situation with firing her coworker was about to go topsy-turvy.


We started using topsy-turvy as an adverb in English around 1528. Later we started using it as an adverb to define things being upside-down in the early 16th century, around 1612. Finally, in 1655, we used topsy-turvy as a noun depicting chaos and utter confusion. English still uses topsy-turvy in these forms today to describe people, things, and situations that are affected by a reversal of order.

Topsy-turvy is also the name of a popular British mystery film directed by Tony Palmer and written by John August. The film stars Renée Zellweger, Hugh Grant, Vanessa Redgrave and Ian McKellen. They released it to the public in 1999.


Chaotic, Upside-down


Neat, Uncluttered


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.