upside down


upside down


  • literally refers to an object that has been reoriented so that the portion which would otherwise be considered the top is now at the bottom, i.e., it is in an inverted position.
  • when figuratively applied to a person or situation, it means that they are in a state of disorder or confusion.
  • when used in reference to a financial situation, it implies that one owes more than a property is worth.

Example Sentences

  1. Out of embarrassment, I turned the book upside down so that he would not see the title of what I was reading.
  2. After rinsing the glasses, you should turn them upside down in the drying rack; this will ensure that they dry completely.
  3. I am so overworked that everything feels completely upside down.
  4. Ever since the housing market crashed, I’ve been upside down with respect to my mortgage.
  5. My car insurance deductible is too high for me to afford fixing the fender-bender I was in, but now the car is worth less than my loan on it. I’m entirely upside down.
  6. “They said the apostles turned the world upside down. They meant by that, that they were disturbers of the peace.” (Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Sermons: 1st Series, 1859, p. 404).


The phrase “upside down” was used only sparingly in the 19th century; its adjectival use is thought to have originated in 1866. However, in the 14th-century Wycliffe-Purvey version of the New Testament—the first translation into English—Matthew 21:12 is translated as:

“Jesus… turned upside-down the boards of changers.” By comparison, the 17th-century King James Version of the passage states, “Jesus… overthrew the tables of the moneychangers…”

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