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


Addition and subtraction are inverse operations.


the inverse of your argument

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

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 The panel’s suggestion to overhaul the strict liability doctrine, known as inverse condemnation, has already faced strong pushback. Dustin Gardiner,, "California wildfire panel doubles down on push to change liability rules for PG&E," 7 June 2019 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In fact, there have been so many exceptions to the inverse relationship, its usefulness is often called into question. Bob Sellers, Fortune, "The Famous "Phillips Curve" to Predict Inflation Isn't Working Like it Should," 14 June 2019 That is almost the inverse of, let’s say, the Lagerfeld model, where the image of the house and the designer are inseparable. New York Times, "Suiting Up With Meghan Markle’s Designer," 11 June 2019 Guterres, who heads the 193-member U.N., warned of the dangers of nations turning inward in a speech that was the inverse of Trump's. Matthew Pennington, Fox News, "At UN this year, it's Trump versus the world," 25 Sep. 2018 Lewis’s piece is best understood as the inverse of Weiss’s piece. Ezra Klein, Vox, "The rise of YouTube’s reactionary right," 24 Sep. 2018 The snag is that shares in this inverse ETF have dropped over the same period, by more than 10%. Mike Bird, WSJ, "Shorting China: Heads You Lose, Tails You Lose," 14 Feb. 2019 In fact, her new collection of dresses is the complete inverse. Emily Farra, Vogue, "Michelle Duncan Is Balancing Her Day Job at Estée Lauder With a New Project: Her Own Line of Dresses," 14 Feb. 2019 Where Spring was a magpie mash-up of sparkly jacquard blazers, flared trousers, jeweled brooches, and ruffled button-downs, Fall was the inverse: sleek, simple, gently oversize suits in two colors, black and camel. Emily Farra, Vogue, "David Hart Is Taking His Formerly Maximalist Menswear Label in a Sleek New Direction," 5 Feb. 2019 But conditions today are almost the complete inverse of conditions in 2008. Jeff Andrews, Curbed, "Housing market signaled potential future downturn in 2018," 21 Dec. 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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Last Updated

26 Jun 2019

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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
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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