turn 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.
turn someone or something upside down
1. Lit. to invert someone or something. The wrestler turned his opponent upside down and dropped him on his head. I turned the bottle upside down, trying to get the last drop out.
2. Fig. to upset someone or something; to thoroughly confuse someone or something. The whole business turned me upside down. It'll take days to recover.
turn something upside down
Fig. to throw things all about in a thorough search for someone or something. We turned this place upside down, looking for the lost ring. Please don't turn everything upside down, looking for your book.
turn upside down
Put in disorder, mix or mess up, as in He turned the whole house upside down looking for his checkbook. This metaphoric phrase transfers literally inverting something so that the upper part becomes the lower (or vice versa) to throwing into disorder or confusion. [First half of 1800s]
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.