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

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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 More than eight months out from that year’s presidential election, the inverse arguments were made: Democrats urged confirmation, while Republicans said that would be inappropriate. Tom Benning, Dallas News, "Dems use Supreme Court hearing to slam Cornyn over Obamacare repeal, election-year confirmation," 12 Oct. 2020 So Trump’s bulldozing and steamrolling had a certain inverse eloquence. Megan Garber, The Atlantic, "Joe, Interrupted," 30 Sep. 2020 But samples that turn out positive can start out with vastly different amounts of virus, for which the CT value provides an inverse measure. Robert F. Service, Science | AAAS, "One number could help reveal how infectious a COVID-19 patient is. Should test results include it?," 29 Sep. 2020 The wildest rides and steepest losses were offered by products that provided leveraged, inverse returns on some underlying asset that was itself volatile. Spencer Jakab, WSJ, "This Investment Burned Almost Everyone," 13 Aug. 2020 Because there is an inverse correlation between the rise in the Fed’s balance sheet and the velocity of money. Nancy Tengler, USA TODAY, "Fed's aggressive monetary policy behind the stock market rally," 13 July 2020 The longevity of a bar in New York can almost always be tracked in inverse proportion to its snobbishness. Ginia Bellafante, New York Times, "A Beloved Bar Owner Was Skeptical About the Virus. Then He Took A Cruise.," 18 Apr. 2020 One solution was to create options that allow people to take sort of inverse screenshots — that is, images of where and when a cat’s paw hit the screen after the game is completed. Los Angeles Times, "You can play video games with your cat — yes, your cat! Here’s how," 8 May 2020 The song dramatizes teen-age self-doubt and has the inverse effect of a pep talk. Carrie Battan, The New Yorker, "The TikTok-Ready Sounds of Beach Bunny," 24 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Due to poor pollination or a good growing season the year prior, a healthy maple may completely skip the process of forming seeds, but the inverse is also true. oregonlive, "Squirrel feeding irks neighbor. Are there better ways? Ask an expert," 17 Oct. 2020 Scaling or flailing Just as the pandemic has forced many companies to lay off employees, others have enjoyed an inverse trajectory. Lydia Belanger, Fortune, "How 2020 Best Small Workplace YNAB recruits and retains great people," 16 Oct. 2020 Against that, the low earnings yield on stocks (the inverse of the price/earnings yield, 4.5% on a forward basis) doesn’t seem so bad. Justin Lahart, WSJ, "Cash Isn’t Trash Compared to Stocks and Bonds," 15 Oct. 2020 Reading between the lines, that would suggest the inverse is also true? cleveland, "Jon Bon Jovi talks new Bon Jovi album, close calls with COVID-19 & more," 9 Oct. 2020 The inverse has been true as well, as white supremacists and those too comfortable with the status quo have bent that arc of progress in a direction away from racial justice. Lindsay M. Chervinsky, Smithsonian Magazine, "The Outsized Role of the President in Race Relations," 8 Oct. 2020 With both Calgary and Chicago, Roberson wears No. 31, the inverse of the No. 13 Highbaugh made famous in Edmonton. Zach Osterman, The Indianapolis Star, "'He was one of the greatest athletes to ever play in our state.' Do you know Larry Highbaugh's remarkable story?," 8 Oct. 2020 In the show’s second season, which began in April, the Georgetown neuroscientist Abigail Marsh’s experience of being rescued by a stranger from a near-death incident on a highway leads to an exploration of altruism and its inverse, psychopathy. Alexandra Schwartz, The New Yorker, "Can Podcasts Improve Our Well-Being?," 28 Sep. 2020 Here's one from 2012 involving 5,148,760 Americans finding the same inverse correlation. Sara Chodosh, Popular Science, "Another giant study confirms that your coffee habit is probably good for you," 3 July 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


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

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Time Traveler for inverse

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for inverse

Last Updated

21 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Inverse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for inverse


How to pronounce inverse (audio)

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
technical : opposite in nature or effect



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

formal + technical : 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

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