Topple means overbalance or cause to overbalance and fall, but e.g. Wiktionary apparently gives some other meanings:

(transitive) To push, throw over, overturn or overthrow something.

Is 'topple' actually used in the sense of just 'push'? I couldn't find such examples after some search.

Also, does 'throw over' here mean overturn? Or, if it means 'abandon' or 'reject', is 'topple' also used in these senses? Or maybe it's the literal sense like 'throw something over the fence'?..

That's probably nitpicking, but I'm curious anyway

  • 1
    I don't think the Wiktionary entry is very well-written. Other dictionaries have definitions which should make the meaning clearer.
    – stangdon
    Commented May 18, 2022 at 22:46

1 Answer 1


It's not common, but perfectly legitimate to say

I toppled him over

Which has the same meaning as

I pushed him over or I tripped him up.

That is, "I caused him to fall over"

I've never seen to used to mean "throw over", it doesn't seem right to me. I suppose that "throw over" in the sense of "push over" rather than as in " throw a ball over a wall" could be used.
Again I've never seen it used to mean "abandon" or "reject".
"I reject your argument" is obvious, but "I topple your argument" is rare and means I have produced counter arguments / evidence that refutes your argument. Not quite the same thing.
It means the same as overturned or overthrown when used in the sense "The rebels have toppled / overthrown / overturned the government of Ruritania"

  • I've seen 'throw over' to mean abandon in older novels (e.g. 1890 to maybe 1950) in the sense of 'break off a relationship', e.g. I was engaged to Mary but she threw me over after meeting Lord Fauntleroy. - "Nevertheless you did throw me over," said Jordan suddenly. "You threw me over on the telephone. " - The Great Gatsby Commented May 19, 2022 at 7:12
  • @MichaelHarvey Good point, but I don't think "throw over" could be replaced with "topple" in your example and retain a similar meaning. Commented May 19, 2022 at 12:20

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