Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[adjective, noun in-vurs, in-vurs; verb in-vurs] /adjective, noun ɪnˈvɜrs, ˈɪn vɜrs; verb ɪnˈvɜrs/
reversed in position, order, direction, or tendency.
  1. (of a proportion) containing terms of which an increase in one results in a decrease in another. A term is said to be in inverse proportion to another term if it increases (or decreases) as the other decreases (or increases).
  2. of or relating to an inverse function.
    Compare direct (def 16).
inverted; turned upside down.
an inverted state or condition.
something that is inverse; the direct opposite.
  1. an element of an algebraic system, as a group, corresponding to a given element such that its product or sum with the given element is the identity element.
  2. inverse function.
  3. a point related to a given point so that it is situated on the same radius, extended if necessary, of a given circle or sphere and so that the product of the distances of the two points from the center equals the square of the radius of the circle or sphere.
  4. the set of such inverses of the points of a given set, as the points on a curve.
verb (used with object), inversed, inversing.
to invert.
Origin of inverse
1605-15; < Latin inversus, past participle of invertere to turn upside down or inside out, reverse. See in-2, verse
Can be confused
converse, inverse, obverse, reverse. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for inverse
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The principle of the siphon recorder is exactly the inverse of the mirror galvanometer.

  • The inverse is also true, for good intentions often have evil results.

    The Sexual Question August Forel
  • The meagreness or negativeness of their content has been in an inverse ratio to their power.

    The Republic Plato
  • His lickings are in inverse ratio to the size of the licked.

    Follow My leader Talbot Baines Reed
  • That is of course calculated under the law of the inverse square.

    Time and Tide

    Robert S. (Robert Stawell) Ball
British Dictionary definitions for inverse


/ɪnˈvɜːs; ˈɪnvɜːs/
opposite or contrary in effect, sequence, direction, etc
  1. (of a relationship) containing two variables such that an increase in one results in a decrease in the other: the volume of a gas is in inverse ratio to its pressure
  2. (of an element) operating on a specified member of a set to produce the identity of the set: the additive inverse element of x is –x, the multiplicative inverse element of x is 1/x
(usually prenominal) upside-down; inverted: in an inverse position
  1. another name for reciprocal (sense 7)
  2. an inverse element
(logic) a categorial proposition derived from another by changing both the proposition and its subject from affirmative to negative, or vice versa, as all immortals are angels from no mortals are angels
Derived Forms
inversely, adverb
Word Origin
C17: from Latin inversus, from invertere to invert
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for inverse

mid-15c., from Latin inversus, past participle of invertere (see invert). Related: Inversely. As a noun, 1680s, from the adjective.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
inverse in Science
Adjective  (ĭn-vûrs')
Relating to a mathematical operation whose nature or effect is the opposite of another operation. For example, addition and subtraction are inverse operations, as are multiplication and division.

Noun  (ĭn'vûrs')
  1. An inverse operation. Subtraction is the inverse of addition.

  2. Either of a pair of elements in a set whose result under the mathematical operation of the set is the identity element. For example, the inverse of 5 under multiplication is 1/5 , since 5 × 1/5 = 1, the identity element under multiplication. The inverse of 5 under addition is -5, since 5 + -5 = 0.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for inverse

Word Value for inverse

Scrabble Words With Friends