[ri-vur-suh l]


an act or instance of reversing.
the state of being reversed.
an adverse change of fortune; reverse.
Law. the setting aside of a decision of a lower court by a higher court.

Origin of reversal

First recorded in 1480–90; reverse + -al2
Related formspre·re·ver·sal, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for reversal

Contemporary Examples of reversal

Historical Examples of reversal

  • The only reversal had been a minor one before the forest of Crcy.

  • In the case of the world, the perturbation is very slight, and amounts only to a reversal of motion.

  • If so, it was by a reversal of polarity through an act of will.


    Victor Endersby

  • This reversal is pregnant with a new outlook for statecraft.

    A Preface to Politics

    Walter Lippmann

  • Worst we can hope for is a conviction and then a Supreme Court reversal.

    The Cross-Cut

    Courtney Ryley Cooper

British Dictionary definitions for reversal



the act or an instance of reversing
a change for the worse; reversea reversal of fortune
the state of being reversed
the annulment of a judicial decision, esp by an appeal court on grounds of error or irregularity
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 reversal

late 15c., from reverse (v.) + -al (2).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

reversal in Medicine




A change to an opposite condition, direction, or position.
A condition in which an individual has difficulty distinguishing the lowercase printed or written characters of particular letters: p from q; g or b from d; or s from z.
The change of an emotion into its opposite, as from love into hate.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.