in·​verse | \ (ˌ)in-ˈvərs, 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

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Examples of inverse in a Sentence


Addition and subtraction are inverse operations.


the inverse of your argument

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The conversation then opened to Rodriguez and Union, who echoed Pompeo’s words about the difficulty of speaking up about their own compensation—but to make inverse points. Vogue, "Here’s Why People Are Saying Ellen Pompeo Snapped (In the Best Way)," 20 Nov. 2018 Under a legal doctrine known as inverse condemnation, California utilities can be held liable for financial losses from fires caused by their equipment, even if the companies followed all the state’s safety regulations. David R. Baker,, "PG&E to pay $2.5 billion for Wine Country fires, warns it could get worse," 21 June 2018 In February, when there was a sudden surge of market volatility, there were those inverse volatility products that were essentially wiped out in a matter of hours. Emily Stewart, Vox, "The first woman president of the NYSE would really rather not talk about her gender," 14 June 2018 But Huffman encoding doesn't do as good a job when symbol probabilities are not inverse powers of two. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Inventor says Google is patenting work he put in the public domain," 10 June 2018 The top three picks in the draft will be decided by choosing pingpong balls, and picks 4 through 14 will be fall into inverse order of each team's 2017-18 regular-season records. William Guillory,, "NBA Draft Lottery 2018: How to watch, TV, streaming info, odds," 15 May 2018 In two lawsuits over past California fires, PG&E and Southern California Edison have argued that inverse condemnation should be abandoned. Michael Hiltzik,, "Big utilities are desperately trying to stick customers for the bills from California wildfires," 4 May 2018 Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, née Godwin, is underrated in inverse proportion. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "Poor Mary Shelley!," 23 May 2018 This is done for the first three picks, and picks 4-14 are determined by inverse order of regular season record. Dakota Crawford, Indianapolis Star, "The NBA Draft Lottery show took forever and everyone is angry," 15 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Before the 1970s, economists posited a simple inverse connection between the two: Growth reduces unemployment, allowing workers to push harder for pay increases, and companies offset it by raising prices. Jon Sindreu, WSJ, "Why Central Bankers Are Moving Beyond Inflation Targets," 21 Dec. 2018 The DeVry acquisition is the inverse of how Washington typically works. Collin Binkley, The Seattle Times, "Little scrutiny in DeVry sale, as DeVos targets protections," 1 Oct. 2018 An inverse correlation developed: As the rehab became more polished, my own home deteriorated. Beth Franken,, "So you want to flip a house? One woman shares advice.," 31 May 2017 This inverse relationship between unemployment and inflation is called the Phillips curve. Greg Ip, WSJ, "How Long Can the Great Jobs Picture Continue? The Fed Thinks Indefinitely," 2 Nov. 2018 Other studies involving digital engagement have suggested an inverse relationship with happiness: As digital media usage goes down, people generally report feeling happier. Bradford Betz, Fox News, "Link seen between ADHD and digital media: study," 19 July 2018 Polling found that 94 percent agree older people have skills and talents that can help address children’s needs, and 89 percent believe the inverse, that children can help older adults. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "How intergenerational living benefits the ‘book-end’ generations," 8 June 2018 The earnings yield is the inverse, and mirror image, of the P/E ratio. Shawn Tully, Fortune, "Forecasts of Double-Digit Stock Returns Deserves the Right Name: Fantasyland," 2 Feb. 2018 In the technology, health-care, communication-services and consumer sectors the highest value stocks tumbled the most, with a strong inverse link between valuation and performance. James Mackintosh, WSJ, "Is It Time to Buy the Dip?," 11 Oct. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of inverse


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


circa 1681, 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

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Statistics for inverse

Last Updated

27 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for inverse

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

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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 \

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

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Comments on inverse

What made you want to look up inverse? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


tremendous in size, volume, or degree

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