in·​verse | \ (ˌ)in-ˈvərs How to pronounce inverse (audio) , ˈin-ˌvərs \

Definition of inverse

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : opposite in order, nature, or effect
2 : being an inverse function inverse sine



Definition of inverse (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : something of a contrary nature or quality : opposite, reverse
2 : a proposition or theorem formed by contradicting both the subject and predicate or both the hypothesis and conclusion of a given proposition or theorem the inverse of "if A then B" is "if not-A then not-B" — compare contrapositive
3a : inverse function also : an operation (such as subtraction) that undoes the effect of another operation
b : a set element that is related to another element in such a way that the result of applying a given binary operation to them is an identity element of the set

Examples of inverse in a Sentence

Adjective Addition and subtraction are inverse operations. Noun the inverse of your argument
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Ultimately, blame is simply the discharging of discomfort and pain and has an inverse relationship with accountability. Womensmedia, Forbes, 15 Oct. 2021 In the category of topological spaces, the categorical notion of isomorphism is represented by an inverse pair of continuous functions. Emily Riehl, Scientific American, 17 Sep. 2021 Packed with enough battery power to last a few hours (and easily re-juiced in their charging cases), these earbuds, like their bulbous brothers, use microphones to pick up noise, then push soundwaves of the inverse wavelength into your ears. Sal Vaglica, WSJ, 26 Aug. 2021 Ritland's measurements indicated an inverse relation between eye and range size. Jack Tamisiea, Scientific American, 16 Aug. 2021 This is the premise of inverse reinforcement learning, an approach formulated in the early 2000s by Stuart Russell, Andrew Ng, Pieter Abbeel and others. Rob Toews, Forbes, 1 June 2021 This will hurt traditional bonds, whose price has an inverse relationship to the movement of interest rates. Jonathan I. Shenkman, Forbes, 2 June 2021 None of this has stopped Mr. Khin Maung Zaw, whose reverence for the law seems to exist in inverse proportion to its just application in Myanmar. New York Times, 2 July 2021 Its analysis found an inverse correlation between the increase in share of sales happening online and margins: as e-commerce penetration rises, margins fall. Marc Bain, Quartz, 1 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The second jury was the inverse of the first, deadlocked ten to two in favor of conviction. Michael Schulman, The New Yorker, 4 Oct. 2021 As part of an expansive cinematic universe, Eternals is the inverse of an intimate film like Songs. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, 24 Sep. 2021 Intriguingly, this is the inverse of how most organizations operate. Ron Carucci, Forbes, 12 Sep. 2021 Investors buy bonds for relatively safe but stable returns—the inverse of cryptocurrencies, which are subject to meteoric rises and equally extreme declines. Matt Wirz, WSJ, 6 Oct. 2021 Penny is a former first-round selection whose NFL career to date, sidetracked by injuries, weight issues and scheme adjustments, approximates the inverse of former Aztecs teammate Brunskill’s career. Tom Krasovic, San Diego Union-Tribune, 13 Sep. 2021 In order for content marketing to be effective, the inverse has to happen. Expert Panel®, Forbes, 30 Aug. 2021 High consumer confidence means people are spending more and saving less, while low consumer confidence reflects the inverse. Anthony Copeman, Essence, 25 Aug. 2021 Baseball is giving people the inverse of that: less action in a longer period of time. CBS News, 8 July 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'inverse.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of inverse


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1658, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for inverse


Middle English, turned upside down, from Latin inversus, from past participle of invertere

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About inverse

Time Traveler for inverse

Time Traveler

The first known use of inverse was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near inverse



inverse cosecant

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for inverse

Last Updated

22 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Inverse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Oct. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for inverse



English Language Learners Definition of inverse

 (Entry 1 of 2)

used to describe two things that are related in such a way that as one becomes larger the other becomes smaller
: opposite in nature or effect



English Language Learners Definition of inverse (Entry 2 of 2)

: something that is the opposite of something else


in·​verse | \ in-ˈvərs How to pronounce inverse (audio) \

Kids Definition of inverse

1 : opposite in order, nature, or effect an inverse relationship
2 : being a mathematical operation that is opposite in effect to another operation Multiplication is the inverse operation of division.

Other Words from inverse

inversely adverb


Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!