Definition of arsy-versy in English:


adverb & adjective

  • In a confused, disordered, or perversely contrary state or manner.

    as adjective ‘they got things all arsy-versy’
    • ‘As one of the characters says (maybe my favourite line), it's an arsy-versy world.’
    • ‘I try to do it in a kind of arsy-versy way with my system of having an assistant director.’
    • ‘The creator of these arsy-versy architectonic visions aims explicitly for ambiguity. ‘What fascinates me is how the photographic image can be manipulated.'’
    • ‘Fourthly, it seems to me, Chris Harman's presentation of his adversaries is arsy-versy.’
    • ‘This book presents waste as an aesthetic category that introduces an arsy-versy world where detritus is precious.’


Mid 16th century: from arse + Latin versus ‘turned’, the addition of -y to both elements forming a jingle.