[ adjective, noun in-vurs, in-vurs; verb in-vurs ]
See synonyms for: inverseinversedinversesinversing on

  1. reversed in position, order, direction, or tendency.

  2. Mathematics.

    • (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).

    • of or relating to an inverse function.: Compare direct (def. 16).

  1. inverted; turned upside down.

  1. an inverted state or condition.

  2. something that is inverse; the direct opposite.

  1. Mathematics.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • the set of such inverses of the points of a given set, as the points on a curve.

verb (used with object),in·versed, in·vers·ing.
  1. 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

Words that may be confused with inverse

Words Nearby inverse Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use inverse in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for inverse


/ (ɪnˈvɜːs, ˈɪnvɜːs) /

  1. opposite or contrary in effect, sequence, direction, etc

  2. maths

    • (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

    • (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

  1. (usually prenominal) upside-down; inverted: in an inverse position

  1. maths

  2. 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

Origin of inverse

C17: from Latin inversus, from invertere to invert

Derived forms of inverse

  • inversely, adverb

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

Scientific definitions for inverse


  1. 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.

  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 15, since 5 X 15 = 1, the identity element under multiplication. The inverse of 5 under addition is -5, since 5 + -5 = 0.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.