Where does the expression “Topsy-Turvy” come from and What does Topsy Turvy mean?

To have the world seem to turn upside-down is a feeling that must have been common to mankind for many years, and for at least almost that number of years people have needed to express this feeling.

Topsy-turvy was coined for this purpose over four hundred years ago, and has the literal meaning of “top turned over.”

The first element is just top, to which the suffix -sy was apparently added for euphony.

where does the expression topsy turvy come from and what does topsy turvy mean

The second element is based on the now obsolete terve (terve), “to turn,” especially, “to turn over.”

Thus it is seen that topsy-turvy is, just as you probably thought all along, “top turned over.”

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist for zippyfacts.com. Born in New York, she loves interesting random facts from all over the world.