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re·verse (rĭ-vûrs)
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adj.
1. Turned backward in position, direction, or order: the reverse side of the poster.
2. Moving, acting, or organized in a manner contrary to the usual: in reverse order.
3. Causing backward movement: a reverse gear.
4. Printing Printed in such a way that the normally colored part appears white against a colored or black background.
n.
1. The opposite or contrary: All along we thought Sue was older than Bill, but just the reverse was true.
2.
a. The back or rear part: the reverse of the flyer.
b. The side of a coin or medal that does not carry the principal design; the verso.
3. A change to an opposite position, condition, or direction.
4. A change in fortune from better to worse; a setback: suffered financial reverses.
5.
a. A mechanism, such as a gear in a motor vehicle, that is used to reverse movement.
b. The position or operating condition of such a mechanism.
c. Movement in an opposite direction.
6. Football An offensive play in which a ball carrier running in one direction executes a handoff to a player running in the opposite direction.
v. re·versed, re·vers·ing, re·vers·es
v.tr.
1. To turn around to the opposite direction: The wind reversed the weather vane.
2. To turn inside out or upside down: reverse a jacket.
3. To exchange the positions of; transpose: reversed the people on stage.
4. Law To change or set aside (a lower court's decision).
5.
a. To cause to adopt a contrary viewpoint: reversed himself during the campaign.
b. To change to the opposite: reversed their planned course of action.
6. To cause (an engine or mechanism) to function in reverse.
7. To direct that (a charge) apply to the person receiving instead of making a telephone call.
v.intr.
1. To turn or move in the opposite direction.
2. To reverse the action of an engine.
Idiom:
reverse (one's) field
To turn and proceed in the opposite direction.

[Middle English revers, from Old French, from Latin reversus, past participle of revertere, to turn back; see REVERT.]

re·versely adv.
re·verser n.

Synonyms: reverse, invert, transpose
These verbs mean to change to the opposite position, direction, or course. Reverse implies a complete turning about to a contrary position: We reversed the arrangement of the sofa and chairs. To invert is basically to turn something upside down or inside out, but the term may imply placing something in a reverse order: inverted the glass; invert subject and verb to form an interrogative. Transpose applies to altering position in a sequence by reversing or changing the order: I often misspell receive by transposing the "e" and the "i."
(click for a larger image)
reverse
reverse (top) and obverse (bottom) of a Polish zloty coin

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

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