reverse engineer

verb

Definition of reverse engineer 

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from reverse engineer

reverse engineering noun

Examples of reverse engineer in a Sentence

They reverse engineered the software.

Recent Examples on the Web

This has happened before, most famously when Soviet engineers reverse engineered the Sidewinder air-to-air missile. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "What Happens to a Cruise Missile Captured by the Russians," 26 Apr. 2018 This is a secret recipe that fans have reverse engineered and shared online, basically a mix of ketchup and mayo with Worcestershire sauce and spices added. Larry Olmsted, USA TODAY, "This fast-food chain serves one specialty," 30 May 2018 The company, which helps automakers reverse engineer each other’s products, revealed significant problems, especially with fit and finish. NBC News, "After flubbing a Consumer Reports recommendation, Tesla makes amends," 22 May 2018 Let’s reverse engineer this set based on its final result: How could a team, on a game-deciding possession, convince four opposing defenders to clear the paint after creating a clear mismatch in the post? Rob Mahoney, SI.com, "The Simple Brilliance Behind Brad Stevens's After-Timeout Plays," 9 May 2018 Five countries have purchased the weapon; China has reportedly reverse engineered a version of its own. Paul Scharre, WSJ, "Meet the New Robot Army," 11 Apr. 2018 Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Thora Birch and many more star in this Academy Award-winning drama. 7) Paycheck (2003) Michael Jennings (Ben Affleck ) is a reverse engineer hired by companies to hack their competitors. Sarah Bracy Penn, Harper's BAZAAR, "11 Movies Leaving Netflix in December," 22 Nov. 2016 The iBoot code is in C, so this is pretty simple to reverse engineer. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "Leak of iBoot code to GitHub could potentially help iPhone jailbreakers [Updated]," 8 Feb. 2018 The goal with the dependency map is to identify genes of consequence and reverse engineer what their action is, to devise better therapies. Linda Marsa, Discover Magazine, "Mapping the Monsters," 1 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'reverse engineer.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of reverse engineer

1973, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about reverse engineer

Share reverse engineer

Statistics for reverse engineer

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for reverse engineer

The first known use of reverse engineer was in 1973

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for reverse engineer

reverse engineer

verb

English Language Learners Definition of reverse engineer

: to study the parts of (something) to see how it was made and how it works so that you can make something that is like it

Comments on reverse engineer

What made you want to look up reverse engineer? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

one that holds something together

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!