arsy versy

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Alteration of arsa versa, a blend of an alteration of arse + vice versa, modeled on vicey versey.

Adverb[edit]

arsy versy (not comparable)

  1. (idiomatic, Britain, vulgar) Tumbling upside down; head over heels; backwards.
    • 1548, Nicholas Udall (translator), The Paraphrase of Erasmus upon the Newe Testamente, London: Edward Whitchurch, Volume 1, Luke 16,[1]
      Who would not haue iudged that same ryche man to haue been a perfecte exaumple and paterne of most welthie and happy state: and this poore Lazare man to be a paterne of vtter miserie? But felicitie is in nowyse to be measured by such thinges as fortune geueth to men in this lyfe. But in the matter that we nowe speake of, altogether was sodainly turned in and out clene arsie versy.
    • 1612, Benvenuto, The Passenger of Benvenuto:
      Dost thou not know that from the beginning the world goes arsie-versie.
    • 1587, Raphael Holinshed et al., Chronicles of England, Scotlande and Irelande, “The Description of Ireland,” p. 26,[2]
      [] the estate of that flourishing towne was turned arsie versie, topside the otherwaie, and from abundance of prosperitie quite exchanged to extreame penurie.
    • 1975, Saul Bellow, Humboldt’s Gift, New York: Viking, p. 457,[3]
      “You put your back up in the wrong place and you’re passive in the wrong place. You’ve got everything arsy-versy. []
    • 1989, Julian Barnes, A History of the World in 10½ Chapters, New York: Knopf, Chapter 8, p. 194,[4]
      Us going in on foot and then the equipment being airlifted in is about as arsy-versy as you can get.

Synonyms[edit]