turn something upside down

turn (someone or something) upside down

1. Literally, to physically invert someone or something. A noun or pronoun can be used between "turn" and "upside." I can't go on those roller coasters that turn you upside down—they make me so nauseous.
2. To carefully examine or search a particular place (often creating a mess in the process). A noun or pronoun can be used between "turn" and "upside." Can you believe I turned the entire house upside down looking for an invitation that was on my refrigerator the whole time?
3. To affect or alter one's outlook, circumstances, or lifestyle, usually negatively. A noun or pronoun can be used between "turn" and "upside." Being rejected by the university that was my top choice turned my whole world upside down. Lena was turned upside down when her mom died, and it took a long time for her to find her way again.
4. To cause or introduce significant changes to something, often as a way of attempting to improve it or change its course. A noun or pronoun can be used between "turn" and "upside." This method of filing is so inefficient that I think it's time to turn the whole process upside down.
See also: down, turn, upside

turn something ˌinside ˈout/ˌupside ˈdown


1 make a place very untidy when you are searching for something: I’ve turned this drawer inside out but I can’t find my passport.The thieves turned the office upside down but they didn’t find anything valuable.
2 cause large changes: The new manager turned the old systems inside out.

turn something upside down

tv. to search a place or thing. We turned his place upside down but never found the gun.
See also: down, something, turn, upside
References in periodicals archive ?
What made Larson's cartoons so smart and wonderful was the way he would unexpectedly turn something upside down.
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