reverse engineer


reverse engineered; reverse engineering; reverse engineers

transitive verb

: to disassemble and examine or analyze in detail (a product or device) to discover the concepts involved in manufacture usually in order to produce something similar
reverse engineering noun

Example Sentences

They reverse engineered the software.
Recent Examples on the Web But Lumafield isn’t building these machines to satisfy our curiosity or to help reverse engineer. Sean Hollister, The Verge, 18 Mar. 2023 But with the advent of gas chromatography, technology that was developed in the 20th century and allows for the separation, identification, and quantification of aroma compounds in a perfume sample, new competitors can simply reverse engineer a fragrance and resell it under a new name. Emily Jensen, Allure, 1 Mar. 2023 Any attempt to reverse engineer the chip/block functionality is thus hindered. IEEE Spectrum, 10 Nov. 2022 Currently in the works is a follow-up study designed to reverse engineer the process. Charlotte Hu, Discover Magazine, 30 Jan. 2018 Turning Tobacco Into Cocaine To learn more about the process, the team had to reverse engineer cocaine by tinkering with the genes in another plant, in this case tobacco. Joshua Rapp Learn, Discover Magazine, 27 Feb. 2023 Imagine what the success of your business looks like, then reverse engineer it. Peter Boolkah, Forbes, 23 Feb. 2023 The dish is Harvey’s homage to the roast chicken at Palena, a legendary plate that, perhaps more than any other in the history of D.C. dining, inspired home cooks to reverse engineer it in a vain attempt to unlock its mysteries. Tim Carman, Washington Post, 17 Jan. 2023 Other fossil melanosome discoveries have enabled my collaborators and me to reverse engineer the environment in which extinct organisms lived. Jakob Vinther, Scientific American, 1 Mar. 2017 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1973, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of reverse engineer was in 1973

Dictionary Entries Near reverse engineer

Cite this Entry

“Reverse engineer.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jun. 2023.

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