reverse

1 of 3

adjective

re·​verse ri-ˈvərs How to pronounce reverse (audio)
1
a
: opposite or contrary to a previous or normal condition
reverse order
b(1)
: having the back presented to the observer or opponent
(2)
: made with one's back to the basketball net
a reverse layup
2
: coming from the rear of a military force
3
: acting, operating, or arranged in a manner contrary to the usual
4
: effecting reverse movement
reverse gear
5
: so made that the part which normally prints in color appears white against a colored background
reversely adverb

reverse

2 of 3

verb

reversed; reversing

transitive verb

1
a
: to turn completely about in position or direction
b
: to turn upside down : invert
c
: to cause to take an opposite point of view
reversed herself on the issue
2
: negate, undo: such as
a
: to overthrow, set aside, or make void (a legal decision) by a contrary decision
b
: to change to the contrary
reverse a policy
c
: to undo or negate the effect of (something, such as a condition or surgical operation)
had his vasectomy reversed
3
: to cause to go in the opposite direction
especially : to cause (something, such as an engine) to perform its action in the opposite direction

intransitive verb

1
: to turn or move in the opposite direction
the count's waltzing … consisted … of reversing at top speedAgatha Christie
2
: to put a mechanism (such as an engine) in reverse
reverser noun

reverse

3 of 3

noun

1
: something directly contrary to something else : opposite
2
: an act or instance of reversing
especially : defeat, setback
suffered financial reverses
3
: the back part of something
especially : the side of a coin or currency note that is opposite the obverse
4
a(1)
: a gear that reverses something
also : the whole mechanism brought into play when such a gear is used
(2)
: movement in reverse
b
: an offensive play in football in which a back moving in one direction gives the ball to a player moving in the opposite direction
Phrases
reverse field or reverse one's field
: to make a sudden reversal in direction or opinion
in reverse
: in an opposite manner or direction
Choose the Right Synonym for reverse

reverse, transpose, invert mean to change to the opposite position.

reverse is the most general term and may imply change in order, side, direction, meaning.

reversed his position on the trade agreement

transpose implies a change in order or relative position of units often through exchange of position.

transposed the letters to form an anagram

invert applies chiefly to turning upside down or inside out.

the number 9 looks like an inverted 6

Examples of reverse in a Sentence

Adjective Can you say the alphabet in reverse order? The drug is used to lower blood pressure but may have the reverse effect in some patients. Verb The runners reversed their direction on the track. There is no way to reverse the aging process. Can anything reverse the trend toward higher prices? Reverse the “i” and “e” in “recieve” to spell “receive” correctly. My mother and I reversed our roles. Now I'm taking care of her. We're going to reverse our usual order and start with Z. Noun The building appears on the reverse of the coin. Please sign your name on the reverse. I put the car in reverse and backed out of the garage.
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
Plan to see kids out and about and enjoying the fun, as many schools in the Green Mountain State will be closed for the eclipse in a reverse snow day. Melissa Locker, TIME, 6 Apr. 2024 Seats in first and business classes are arranged in a reverse herringbone layout in a 1-2-1 configuration. Rachel Dube, Robb Report, 3 Apr. 2024 Management and the Board of Directors evaluated a broad spectrum of potential options, including asset in-licensing, out-licensing, royalty monetization, strategic transactions (including reverse mergers, strategic mergers, and sale), and liquidation. Charlotte Observer, 27 Mar. 2024 Additionally, Taylor Swift’s reverse transition more than a decade ago, from country singer to pop stadium-filler, has made genre-hopping more acceptable. Tom Roland, Billboard, 26 Mar. 2024 This generates a reverse flow in this region that pushes against the supporting pillars, generating thrust in the direction of motion. The Physics Arxiv Blog, Discover Magazine, 26 Mar. 2024 On June 13, when more than 27,000 A’s fans showed up for a Tuesday night game against the Tampa Bay Rays in a reverse boycott, the players didn’t hide from the potential embarrassment of the moment. Jason Mastrodonato, The Mercury News, 25 Mar. 2024 Use front, reverse, side or curtsy lunges, or all four. Amanda Loudin, San Diego Union-Tribune, 12 Mar. 2024 Arenas made a reverse layup to give Chatsworth a 31-30 lead at halftime and the Chancellors took a four-point lead into the final eight minutes before shifting to a higher gear. Steve Galluzzo, Los Angeles Times, 6 Mar. 2024
Verb
But don’t expect your usual story about a female victim as this time, the roles will be reversed. Marta Balaga, Variety, 8 Apr. 2024 By 2020 the picture had reversed: Taiwan had the most of any market (22%), followed by South Korea (21%) and China (15%). Geoff Colvin, Fortune, 8 Apr. 2024 Explore our new section The massive pumps that draw water into the aqueducts of the State Water Project and the Central Valley Project are strong enough to reverse the flow in parts of the south delta. Ian James, Los Angeles Times, 8 Apr. 2024 Also, there’s no evidence Washington State and Oregon State have erred in pursuing a merger or reverse merger with the Mountain West. Jon Wilner, The Mercury News, 5 Apr. 2024 Men, meanwhile, still seem reluctant to completely reverse historic gender norms. Ryan Hogg, Fortune Europe, 5 Apr. 2024 On Friday, Portes was among roughly 200 people who converged in Samuel Gompers Park in Mount Vernon Square to call on Bowser and the D.C. Council to reverse the elimination of the fund, which for Portes could amount to a 25 percent pay cut and for others could be as high as 40 percent. Meagan Flynn, Washington Post, 5 Apr. 2024 Starmer’s Labour Party does not seek to reverse them. Sam Knight, The New Yorker, 25 Mar. 2024 Eventually, Alex reversed the spell and kept her status as the family wizard due to her loyalty to her best friend Harper, who was dating Zeke Beakerman when the series ended. Skyler Trepel, Peoplemag, 24 Mar. 2024
Noun
And then in the summer, the system works in reverse. Stephen Cass, IEEE Spectrum, 3 Apr. 2024 The same principle holds, in reverse, for elections in which both candidates are popular. Nathaniel Rakich, ABC News, 1 Apr. 2024 Amid a final burst of rain showers that dropped a half-inch in less than a couple of hours at San Francisco International Airport on Wednesday came words from the National Weather Service, possibly signaling a reverse to the recent trend of wet weather. Rick Hurd, The Mercury News, 6 Mar. 2024 Tuxedo Park natives like to tell the story in reverse—that fashion-forward clubgoers inspired the royal—but evidence suggests this innovation originated across the pond. The Editors, Robb Report, 28 Mar. 2024 During the robbery, one of the men, Justin White, put his car in reverse. Jake Allen, The Indianapolis Star, 28 Mar. 2024 To get back in safely, do the same steps (but in reverse order)—tighten your core before bending down, put your butt in the seat, and then (steadily) swing one foot in the door at a time. Ashley Abramson, SELF, 25 Mar. 2024 Follow Election 2024 If the Supreme Court reverses or pares back the use of the obstruction charge, all of those cases would have to be reconsidered anew. Rachel Weiner, Washington Post, 1 Mar. 2024 Security then moved a shuttle bus in front of the protestors, driving forward and in reverse to block them and try to muffle the sound. William Earl, Variety, 25 Feb. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'reverse.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective

Middle English revers, from Anglo-French, from Latin reversus, past participle of revertere to turn back — more at revert

First Known Use

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of reverse was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near reverse

Cite this Entry

“Reverse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/reverse. Accessed 15 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

reverse

1 of 3 adjective
re·​verse ri-ˈvərs How to pronounce reverse (audio)
1
: opposite or contrary to a previous or normal condition
reverse order
2
: acting or working in a manner opposite to the usual
3
: bringing about backward movement
reverse gear
reversely adverb

reverse

2 of 3 verb
reversed; reversing
1
: to turn completely about or upside down or inside out
2
a
: to overthrow or set aside a legal decision by an opposite decision
b
: to change to the contrary
reverse a policy
3
a
: to go or cause to go in the opposite direction
b
: to put (as a car) into reverse
4
: to undo the effect of (as a condition)
face creams that promise to reverse the signs of aging
reverser noun

reverse

3 of 3 noun
1
: something directly opposite to something else
2
: an act or instance of reversing
especially : a change for the worse
3
: the back part of something
4
: a gear that reverses something
Etymology

Adjective

Middle English revers "opposite or contrary to a previous or normal condition," from early French revers (same meaning), from Latin reversus "turned back," from revertere "to turn back," from re- "again" + vertere "to turn" — related to converse, versatile, vertical, vice versa

Medical Definition

reverse

transitive verb
re·​verse ri-ˈvərs How to pronounce reverse (audio)
reversed; reversing
: to change drastically or completely the course or effect of: as
a
: to initiate recovery from
reverse a disease
b
: to make of no effect or as if not done
reverse a surgical procedure

Legal Definition

reverse

verb
re·​verse
reversed; reversing

transitive verb

: to set aside or make void (a judgment or decision) by a contrary decision compare affirm

intransitive verb

: to reverse a decision or judgment
for these reasons, we reverse
reversible adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on reverse

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