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 speed Agatha 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

Example Sentences

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
Aston rushed for nine yards to the 3-yard line after faking a reverse handoff. James Weber, The Enquirer, 26 Nov. 2022 If the seller posts a photo of what is supposed to be the actual item — a puppy, say, or a designer dress — save a duplicate of the image on your computer or smartphone, then upload it to a reverse image search site. Jon Healey, Chicago Tribune, 25 Nov. 2022 Association with Trump becomes a permanent tarnish, a kind of reverse Midas touch. Manuel Roig-franzia, Washington Post, 25 Nov. 2022 If the seller posts a photo of what is supposed to be the actual item — a puppy, say, or a designer dress — save a duplicate of the image on your computer or smartphone, then upload it to a reverse image search site. Jon Healey, Los Angeles Times, 22 Nov. 2022 Those payments must be made, and kept current, by the reverse mortgagor (the homeowner) from his or her own resources. Annie Lane, cleveland, 21 Nov. 2022 Those payments must be made, and kept current, by the reverse mortgagor (the homeowner) from his or her own resources. Annie Lane, oregonlive, 21 Nov. 2022 Mafindo, or Masyarakat Anti Fitnah Indonesia, the Indonesian Anti-Slander Society, provides training in reverse image search, video metadata, and geolocation to help verify information. Rina Chandran And Leo Galuh, The Christian Science Monitor, 21 Nov. 2022 The line will sail from New Orleans to Memphis on Dec. 11 with stops in St. Francisville, Louisiana, and Natchez, Mississippi, among others, and make a similar reverse journey on Dec. 18, according to its website. Nathan Diller, USA TODAY, 18 Nov. 2022
Verb
The poor state of the Chinese economy – thanks to unrelenting zero-Covid lockdowns and the recent US ban on the export of advanced semiconductor chips to China – have added to Beijing’s urgency to reverse the trend. Nectar Gan, CNN, 21 Nov. 2022 Columnist Robin Abcarian looks at how cities including San Francisco, San Jose and Berkeley are trying to reverse the disturbing trend by prohibiting drivers from turning right on red lights. Ada Tsengassistant Editor, Los Angeles Times, 14 Nov. 2022 At the same time, the drop in enrollment threatens to reverse a long-term trend in the U.S. of a greater share of Americans earning college degrees. Aimee Picchi, CBS News, 14 Nov. 2022 Congressional Democrats and the administration have sought to reverse the trend. Stephanie Armour, WSJ, 1 Nov. 2022 And according to the research, any initiatives to reverse this trend should begin at the highest levels of U.S. political discourse. Sara Novak, Scientific American, 31 Oct. 2022 The coaching staff as a whole is latching on to pretty much any detail throughout the day that can reverse the trend. Kevin Reynolds, The Salt Lake Tribune, 14 Oct. 2022 After all, someone must initiate the buying or selling needed to reverse a trend. John S. Tobey, Forbes, 10 Oct. 2022 That’s likely to slow or reverse the trend identified in this paper, and one reason fixing the unemployment insurance system is a good idea. Tim Fernholz, Quartz, 7 Oct. 2022
Noun
Running the drill in reverse can either twist the brush off the end of the rod (for brushes that thread on without set screws) or cause pieces of the rod to disconnect and get stuck in the dryer vent. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, 14 Nov. 2022 Lohan stars as the heiress, obviously, in a role that plays a little like Mean Girls’ Cady Heron in reverse: from mean girl to nice girl, rather than the other way around. K. Austin Collins, Rolling Stone, 13 Nov. 2022 While Eritrea moved from voting with Russia to abstaining, Nicaragua did the reverse. Yasmeen Serhan, Time, 13 Oct. 2022 On3′s Chad Simmons did the reverse, siding with Alabama last week. Nick Alvarez | Nalvarez@al.com, al, 24 July 2022 Muslims within Indian boundary lines left their homes and fled to Pakistan, and Hindus in the area now designated as Pakistan did the reverse. Jane Recker, Smithsonian Magazine, 31 May 2022 This time, the Rockets would do the reverse – shipping Wall to the Lakers in exchange for Westbrook and another first-round pick. Matt Young, Chron, 9 Feb. 2022 But the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse, the teenager accused of killing two people and shooting another during a Black Lives Matter protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in August 2020 will almost certainly do the reverse. Van Jones, CNN, 20 Nov. 2021 Expect Maryland Dems to do the reverse in the next few days. Bryan Schott, The Salt Lake Tribune, 17 Nov. 2021 See More

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

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 29 Nov. 2022.

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

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

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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