[adjective, noun in-vurs, in-vurs; verb in-vurs]


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.


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

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 confusedconverse inverse obverse reverse Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for inverse

Contemporary Examples of inverse

Historical Examples of inverse

  • 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 meagreness or negativeness of their content has been in an inverse ratio to their power.

  • 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



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 otherthe 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; invertedin an inverse position


  1. another name for reciprocal (def. 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 Formsinversely, adverb

Word Origin for inverse

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

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

inverse in Science



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.


An inverse operation. Subtraction is the inverse of addition.
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.