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 The advent of peace in Northern Ireland had an odd, inverse effect on politics there. Kevin Cullen,, "Seamus Mallon, a champion of the Irish peace process, lived as a Catholic and spoke ‘like a Prod’," 25 Jan. 2020 The dryness increases in inverse proportion to the amount of vermouth. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, "The Intoxicating History of Gin," 2 Dec. 2019 PG&E, Edison and others pushed this year to reform that system, based on a legal doctrine called inverse condemnation, but lawmakers couldn’t agree how. Washington Post, "Why California Fire Threats Cut Lights for Millions," 26 Oct. 2019 Just as hot water has the inverse effect of making our bodies cool before sleep, taking a cold shower make our bodies warm up, making sleep more difficult. Ryan Prior, CNN, "A hot bath 1 or 2 hours before bedtime can significantly improve your sleep, researchers say," 24 July 2019 In most cases, inverse psoriasis takes the form of a red shiny, smooth rash. Lambeth Hochwald,, "What is Inverse Psoriasis—and What’s the Best Way to Treat It?," 27 June 2019 The sound is massive, but the production remains clean, with inverse drops that play like the reflection of fire on metal. Katie Bain, Billboard, "First Spin: The Week's Best New Dance Tracks From Yotto, ATLiens, Jubilee & More," 26 July 2019 North of the border, Horizons ETFs Management Canada launched the first leveraged and inverse pot funds. Kristine Owram,, "Cannabis ETFs face a ‘day of reckoning’ that even 30 percent gains can’t avert," 9 July 2019 The proposal stops short of meeting investor demands that the state change its doctrine of inverse condemnation, which holds utilities responsible for wildfire damage linked to their equipment. Taryn Luna,, "To reduce wildfires and save utilities, Newsom wants $10.5 billion from ratepayers," 21 June 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In general, research also shows an inverse relationship between age and length of recovery. Colin Hoobler, oregonlive, "What to know about sports concussions like the one Portland Trail Blazers’ Anfernee Simons suffered against Utah Jazz," 9 Feb. 2020 Now, though, the singer has already turned to the exact inverse of that vibrant pink number. Rachel Hahn, Vogue, "Dua Lipa Channels The Fifth Element in a Futuristic Marine Serre Bodysuit," 6 Dec. 2019 The earnings yield for U.S. stocks has averaged roughly 6%, based on the inverse of 12-month trailing P/E ratios since 1871 or CAPE ratios since 1881, or an average premium over government bonds of 1.5 percentage points. Washington Post, "The Fed Isn’t Sending a Signal to Buy Stocks," 20 Sep. 2019 More officials, however, appear to favor weighting their holdings toward Treasury bills and other shorter-maturity holdings, the inverse of their crisis-era interventions into long-term bonds. Nick Timiraos, WSJ, "Fed Debate Heats Up Over the Size and Composition of Its Bond Holdings," 11 Jan. 2019 In humans, when one eye sees a pattern of bright and dark dots, and the other eye sees the inverse of the pattern—where the bright and dark dots are reversed—our brains have difficulty reconciling the differences, compromising depth perception. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, "Scientists Velcroed 3-D Glasses to Cuttlefish to Study Their Depth Perception," 8 Jan. 2020 The direct inverse of that would be shopping vintage or consignment, making use of what exists and extending the life span of a garment in the process. Vogue, "The 21 Best Secondhand and Vintage Gifts to Buy Now—Before Someone Else Does," 27 Nov. 2019 Based off an idea from colleague Genya Tsentalovich from the late 1990s that never made it to the experimental phase, the physicists will be conducting the inverse of the reaction, Milner said. Maria Lovato,, "MIT physicists design an experiment to study the origin of oxygen in the universe," 27 Aug. 2019 The scene 500 yards away on the shores of Exuma Sound was the inverse of the west. Porter Fox, New York Times, "On a Bahamas Sail, 8 Friends Get a Taste of Robinson Crusoe," 18 Dec. 2019

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

20 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Inverse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 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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