from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- adv. With the top downward and the bottom up; upside-down.
- adv. In or into a state of utter disorder or confusion: "turning our ordered life topsy-turvy” ( Anne Tyler).
- adj. Turned or positioned upside down; inverted.
- adj. Confused or disordered.
- n. The quality or condition of being topsy-turvy.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- adj. Backwards or upside-down; disorderly; chaotic.
- adv. Backwards or upside-down; disorderly; chaotically.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- adv. In an inverted posture; with the top or head downward; upside down.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- Upside down; in reverse of the natural order; hence, in a state of confusion or chaos: formerly sometimes followed by down.
- Turned upside down; upset; hence, confused; disordered; chaotic.
- n. A topsyturvy condition; great disorder; confusion; chaos.
- To turn upside down; upset.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- adv. in a disordered manner
- adj. in utter disorder
- adv. in disorderly haste
Probably from top1 + obsolete terve, to overturn (from Middle English terven).(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Earlier topside-turvey, topsy-tervy; probably for top so turvy; that is, the top as turvy, as it were turvy, where turvy probably means "overturned", from Anglo-Saxon torfian to throw. (Wiktionary)