re·​ver·​sion | \ ri-ˈvər-zhən , -shən\

Definition of reversion

1a : the part of a simple estate remaining in the control of its owner after the owner has granted therefrom a lesser particular estate
b : a future interest in property left in the control of a grantor or the grantor's successor
2 : the right of succession or future possession or enjoyment
3a : an act or the process of returning (as to a former condition)
b : a return toward an ancestral type or condition : reappearance of an ancestral character
4 : an act or instance of turning the opposite way : the state of being so turned
5 : a product of reversion specifically : an organism with an atavistic character : throwback

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Synonyms & Antonyms for reversion


regression, retrogression


advancement, development, evolution, progression

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Examples of reversion in a Sentence

His photos document the land's reversion to swamp. the reversion of the estate

Recent Examples on the Web

In certain respects, today’s demands for the imposition of universal standards of speech and belief are a reversion to a pre-Westphalian view of the world. Yoram Hazony, WSJ, "The Liberty of Nations," 24 Aug. 2018 Neymar, as the ad implied, represents the dream of returning to the stylish, improvisational style of Pele, Garrincha, and Ronaldo, a reversion to what is called, futebol-arte. Franklin Foer, The Atlantic, "The Annoying Genius Who Makes the World Cup Worth Watching," 5 July 2018 Rhodes is not yet sure why these reversions occur, but theorizes that the commitment to becoming female may be irreversible—and thus a risk only worth taking when all conditions are exactly right. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "Alternatives to Heterosexual Pairings, Brought to You By Non-Human Animals," 28 June 2018 The key to stopping this reversion may lie in the process that formed the modern welfare state. Sarah Jones, The New Republic, "Lessons From the Gilded Age," 13 June 2018 And close European observers of the United States are not optimistic about a reversion to the mean. Washington Post, "As tensions with Trump deepen, Europe wonders if America is lost for good," 19 May 2018 Food delivery is a strange reversion to an old way of doing business. Beth Kowitt, Fortune, "How Amazon Is Using Whole Foods in a Bid for Total Retail Domination," 21 May 2018 But the weak job creation number surely reflects some reversion to the mean after that extraordinary February number. New York Times, "The March Jobs Numbers Show the Economy Is Sound, but Far From Invincible," 6 Apr. 2018 Chan reports that similar name reversions occurred when other African nations gained independence from colonial rule. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Why Swaziland Is Now the Kingdom of eSwatini," 26 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'reversion.' 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 reversion

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for reversion

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin reversion-, reversio act of returning, from revertere

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Time Traveler for reversion

The first known use of reversion was in the 15th century

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English Language Learners Definition of reversion

technical + formal : an act or process of returning to an earlier condition or state
law : the returning of property to a former owner or to a person who received the right to it when the former owner died


re·​ver·​sion | \ ri-ˈvər-zhən, -shən \

Medical Definition of reversion

1a : an act or the process of returning (as to a former condition)
b : a return toward an ancestral type or condition : reappearance of an ancestral character
2 : a product of reversion specifically : an organism with an atavistic character


re·​ver·​sion | \ ri-ˈvər-zhən \

Legal Definition of reversion

1 : the returning of an estate upon its termination to the former owner or to his or her successor in interest
2a : the present vested interest in the residue of an estate that remains in its owner after the grant therefrom of a lesser estate (as a life estate) and that will commence in possession by operation of law upon termination of the lesser estate
b : the future interest in property left in a grantor or his or her successor in interest that is not subject to a condition precedent — compare possibility of reverter, remainder

Other Words from reversion

reversionary \ -​zhə-​ˌner-​ē \ adjective

History and Etymology for reversion

Anglo-French, from Middle French, from Latin reversio act of turning back, from revertere to turn back

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More from Merriam-Webster on reversion

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with reversion

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for reversion

Spanish Central: Translation of reversion

Nglish: Translation of reversion for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about reversion

Comments on reversion

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


excited commotion or publicity

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