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
Florida State University 1985-89 List in reverse chronological order your work history for the past 15 years. Debbie Hixon, Sun Sentinel, 11 July 2024 That’s helped reverse months of the stock’s decline. William Gavin, Quartz, 10 July 2024
Verb
However, the Nevada Supreme Court reversed his conviction after ruling that the jury should not have heard about Gault’s death, deeming that the similarities that prosecutors pointed out were prejudicial. Nicole Acosta, Peoplemag, 13 July 2024 More than a million teens started vaping from 2017 to 2019, per a Pediatrics study, reversing decades of declines in tobacco use. April Rubin, Axios, 13 July 2024
Noun
Directed by David Fincher, and based on a short story written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the film tells the story of a man, Benjamin Button (Brad Pitt) who ages in reverse and is raised by Queenie (Taraji Henson). Lynnette Nicholas, Essence, 11 July 2024 The visual effects problem is essentially that in reverse—take a three-dimensional world and condense it into two-dimensional moving images. Ryan Hogg, Fortune, 8 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for reverse 

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 23 Jul. 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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