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

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 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

As Churchland admits, a system based on the glow of social approbation and affection versus the shame and pain of their inverse is vulnerable to all kinds of abuse. Lidija Haas, Harper's magazine, "New Books," 10 June 2019 Her inverse, the JAP, was entitled and withholding, designed to take blame for the stigmas of the new. Jamie Lauren Keiles, Vox, "How the JAP became America’s most complex Jewish stereotype.," 5 Dec. 2018 The ProShares UltraShort 20+ Year Treasury ETF (TBT) is similar, and aims to return twice (200 percent) the inverse (opposite) of the daily performance of the Bloomberg Barclays Capital US Treasury 20+ Year Treasury Bond Index. Erin Arvedlund,, "Want to bet against U.S. Treasurys? These ETFs make the trade easy for investors," 22 Jan. 2018 Other sunbathers do the inverse and use a stencil to hide some skin from the sun while burning the surrounding area. Samantha Lauriello,, "The Viral Sunburn Tattoo Trend Is Seriously Dangerous—Here’s Why," 10 June 2019 The headphone force field can also help signal the inverse—that a nearby stranger doesn’t pose a threat. Marina Koren, The Atlantic, "The Case for Wearing AirPods All the Time," 5 June 2019 Kraninger’s disposition seems almost the inverse of Mulvaney’s. Anjali Tsui, ProPublica, "How Payday Lenders Spent $1 Million at a Trump Resort — and Cashed In," 5 June 2019 Ever since its launch, during weeks when the CSI 300 rose, the inverse ETF has fallen by slightly more. Mike Bird, WSJ, "Shorting China: Heads You Lose, Tails You Lose," 14 Feb. 2019 But if there’s any Spider-Man villain that can stand alone, it’s Venom, the squid-ink-colored inverse of Peter Parker. Alex Abad-santos, Vox, "Venom, Spider-Man’s symbiote supervillain, explained," 3 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


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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Statistics for inverse

Last Updated

18 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

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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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).


authorized for issue (as a bond)

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