Definition of reverse in US English:



[no object]
  • 1Move backward.

    ‘the truck reversed into the back of a bus’
    • ‘Since the path was so narrow that there was no way to reverse, he had no option but to continue moving forward.’
    • ‘As soon as it was directly over us it flipped, reversed and started heading west again finally shooting away.’
    • ‘Normally the escalator runs uphill, but in the morning it reverses for a few hours to transport commuters to work.’
    • ‘How to explain to a mother that I failed to resuscitate her daughter who was reversed over by a car?’
    • ‘The 56-year-old is then said to have leapt back into his car and as he reversed Barbara Johnson, an aunt of the dog's owner, became caught in the door of the vehicle.’
    • ‘We ended up having to reverse to do our station work, causing us a slight but necessary delay.’
    • ‘So if you lean forward, it moves forward; if you lean back, it reverses; and if you centre your weight, it stops completely.’
    • ‘Once he was inside the car, he ducked down in the back seat as she started the car and reversed out of the drive.’
    • ‘I would be slightly troubled by the possibility of not being seen by, for instance, reversing lorries.’
    • ‘The truck reversed, revved up and moved forward again.’
    • ‘First the boat was nose-diving towards the beach at great speed and then the sea reversed and threw them backwards.’
    • ‘The police suspected that an unidentified truck, while reversing, ran over him.’
    • ‘The driver told them to get off the truck, and reversed when he thought they were clear of his path.’
    • ‘The Saab moved forward, but then reversed into the officer for a second time before driving away.’
    • ‘Witnesses told police that the car reversed and drove off after knocking Mr Lodge across the bonnet and into the road.’
    • ‘Night-vision units have received a lot of attention, as have recent optical systems for alerting drivers to objects behind reversing vehicles.’
    • ‘He moved the vehicle forward a few inches, reversed a little and then remained stationary for a few more minutes as more patrons left in their vehicles.’
    • ‘While waiting for someone at Kensington shopping centre in Harare on 2 August at around midday, I noticed a police truck reversing into an overgrown piece of ground running parallel to Cork Road.’
    • ‘Content and well fed, we retired to our room, where the one sour note of the weekend was a sound night's sleep disturbed at dawn by a delivery lorry reversing and unloading directly underneath the bedroom window.’
    • ‘Anyway, after I reversed into this lorry I thought I was gonna get beaten up by the big lorry driver who jumped out of the cab.’
    back, go back, go backwards, drive back, drive backwards, move back, move backwards, send back, send backwards
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1with object Cause (a vehicle) to move backward.
      ‘I got in the car, reversed it and drove it up the driveway’
      • ‘And they would have the front door open and the kettle on before I'd even reversed the van up their drive.’
      • ‘A woman who asked her husband to reverse her new luxury car into a parking space watched in horror as it smashed through a shop window.’
      • ‘Backing out faster than a drunkard reversing his vehicle, cheeks aflame, Jody remembers the useful rule of always knocking before entering.’
      • ‘Mr Russell was in the process of reversing his vehicle on to the loading bays.’
      • ‘Once we were safely on the main land the captain reversed the ship and set of back into the night moving quickly out of the harbor.’
      • ‘But he suddenly reversed the Peugeot he was driving and rammed the police car at speed.’
      • ‘After the crash, Gibson took over driving and reversed the car out of the garden.’
      • ‘At that moment, her uncle was reversing his Lexus car out of the yard.’
      • ‘With the wild revving of an engine tuned for acceleration rather than economy, Mike reversed the Escort and roared through the car park towards the entrance to the Chronicle building where Theo stood.’
      • ‘The elephant concerned has no history of aggressive behaviour and it is believed it only charged the jeep after becoming irritated when the driver tried to reverse the vehicle out of mud.’
      • ‘For some, owning a car is difficult but reversing the vehicle is even tougher a task.’
      • ‘When the police arrived, they had to reverse their vehicle against the door of the house to get the suspect into a van.’
      • ‘He reversed his car, and pulled out of his drive way, and stopped in front of me.’
      • ‘After he collided with a stone central reservation in Petergate, he struck a police Transit van, reversed the car and set off at speed towards Cheapside.’
      • ‘At the same time, another heavy goods vehicle driver was reversing his cab to hook up another container, which caused it to move in Mr Grills' direction.’
      • ‘She alleges the driver then reversed his bus and drove off.’
      • ‘Powell could have easily removed himself from the situation by reversing his vehicle.’
      • ‘The driver, 79, told today how he may have blacked out at the wheel as he was reversing his Honda out of the drive in Eliot Court, Fulford.’
      • ‘He reverses the car out of the space and drives down the road.’
      • ‘With the blood from his head injury obscuring his vision, Beharry managed to continue to control his vehicle, and forcefully reversed the Warrior out of the ambush area.’
    2. 1.2with object Turn (something) the other way around or up or inside out.
      ‘after completing a row of leaves or flowers I have reversed the pattern’
      • ‘In the poem, Coleridge takes that ancient image of human purpose, the triumphant journey to master a world, and reverses it, turns it inside out.’
      • ‘To start with, all three seats must be transposed and reversed.’
      • ‘We then have a supplemental draft - two rounds - where the order is reversed from that of Round One.’
      • ‘Another difficulty is, of course, that the resulting image is reversed left-to-right.’
      • ‘The image is upside-down and reversed left-to-right.’
      • ‘Nice article about the new Chrysler Hemi V-8, but the photo on page 22 is reversed.’
      • ‘When viewed from above, the image appears the correct way up (but still reversed left-to-right).’
      • ‘Inscribed on the outside of the glass and viewed from the inside, the letters are reversed and reveal a snowy landscape.’
      • ‘The main staircase is actually reversed to create a spacious entryway just inside the doorway.’
      • ‘All the polarities inside him have been reversed; instead of explaining past tragedy and sadness, he will project future happiness.’
      • ‘They are history interpreted retrospectively, reversed and inverted - my point being that history neither begins in nor relinquishes myth.’
      • ‘When the cloth was turned inside-out, the reversed marks resulted in the famous image of the crucified Christ.’
      • ‘As with her earlier collection, the garments can be worn inside-out, reversed or unbuttoned.’
      turn upside down, turn over, upend, upturn, put bottom up, flip over, turn topsy-turvy, invert, capsize
      turn inside out
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3with object Make (something) the opposite of what it was.
      ‘the damage done to the ozone layer may be reversed’
      • ‘In one instance, he attempted to replace the head of Customs with a personal friend, an action that President Kostunica quickly moved to reverse.’
      • ‘The best thing about this movie was that it reversed the polarity of our sympathy while also deepening it.’
      • ‘Last season's scenario of a vibrant Heworth and struggling Selby seems to have reversed itself as Selby move into the top half of the table while Heworth have slipped to the bottom.’
      • ‘In such cases, the extensive use of tax credits reverses the burden of providing the information from the taxing authority to the taxpayer, who thereby has to prove compliance.’
      • ‘Its decision to reintroduce free entry to the art gallery, reversing the ill-considered entrance fee, was a positive gesture of intent.’
      • ‘While they never succeeded in reversing the problem of economic disparity, they provided opposition to those seeking support for an urban-based model for change.’
      • ‘Now that the industry is gone, they are moving back again, reversing a 200 year trend.’
      • ‘Both Hyundai and Nissan have reversed their U.S. automotive fortunes but to differing degrees.’
      • ‘The final chorus in this production reverses the emotional polarities of the whole opera: singing about their new-won freedom, the humans fight, flirt and fornicate.’
      • ‘Later, the media department chairperson also appealed to the Opposition to reverse its boycott decision.’
      • ‘According to him it is the responsibility of every resident to assist the authorities in reversing this situation.’
      • ‘A year later, in reversing that move, the committee was able to report that ‘household spending appears to have recovered from its post-Christmas dip’.’
      • ‘The strangely pleasant thing about this is that it reverses the law of diminishing returns.’
      • ‘New Brighton are next up at home this Saturday, when the Black and Ambers attempt to reverse a 21-18 defeat which came via a last-minute penalty in late November.’
      • ‘But the authority reversed its decision earlier this year, paving the way for others to go through the same process.’
      • ‘The opposition is criticizing the handouts while not promising to reverse them.’
      • ‘In West Yorkshire, where the passenger death figures are the worst for five years, the local education authority has started a campaign in schools, aimed at reversing the trend.’
      • ‘The synod, like a general council, however, would have no authority over the pope and no right to reverse his decisions.’
      • ‘Patten tried to reverse years of authoritarian British administration in Hong Kong by encouraging democratic institutions.’
      • ‘He added that the Minister for Finance had the authority to reverse the decision.’
      alter, change
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4with object Exchange (the position or function) of two people or things.
      ‘the experimenter and the subject reversed roles and the experiment was repeated’
      • ‘There are a few sites that reverse this process by using a light text on dark background, which is found acceptable in some cases, but you are better off using dark on light for your overall content.’
      • ‘On the other side of the city in Dangan Sports Ground the position was reversed with many more participants that spectators.’
      • ‘If you looked at the same statistics two years ago, the positions would have been reversed.’
      • ‘And if I was honest with myself I'd have felt the same if our positions had been reversed.’
      • ‘In a sense, the parent-child role was being reversed, as Jean determined to do everything she could to spare her parents from having to confront the worst indignities of their situation.’
      • ‘If the roles had been reversed, how would they have fared before Lord Hutton's questioning?’
      • ‘As she watched her husband's ascendancy back home, few could have denied Victoria Beckham a moment's reflection on how their positions have been reversed.’
      • ‘Their roles had been reversed, with the wife going out to work and the husband staying at home with the kids.’
      • ‘Step forward 10 years and the roles have been somewhat reversed.’
      • ‘Reid himself argued that, if the roles had been reversed, nationalists may well have behaved in much the same way to unionists as unionists had behaved to them.’
      • ‘Of course, if we judge things on a per capita basis, the last positions would be reversed.’
      • ‘Now these roles have effectively been reversed.’
      • ‘The Ulster Unionist said what needed to be done was for the current roles to be reversed with planners offering an opinion to Councillors and Councillors making the decision.’
      • ‘If this were my house, the positions would be reversed and I'd be the one screaming and running out the door.’
      • ‘And, as with some Asian cars, the indicator and windscreen wipers are reversed, which can cause no end of confusion at first.’
      • ‘But in other respects, the two countries' positions are reversed.’
      • ‘The guy who was up gave a helping hand to the guy who was lower down, knowing that their positions could be reversed without warning.’
      • ‘The following day, however, Fujinami - Lampkin's main rival in his defence of the world title - got his revenge, reversing the finishing positions from Saturday.’
      • ‘There may, therefore, be a link between poor visual motion sensitivity and the tendency to misidentify, transpose, and reverse letters.’
      • ‘But eventually, there would come a time when the roles would be reversed, when he would have to be the strong one.’
      swap, swap round, change, change round, exchange, interchange, switch, switch round, trade, transpose, invert, turn about, turn around
      View synonyms
    5. 1.5Law with object Revoke or annul (a judgment, sentence, or decree made by a lower court or authority)
      ‘the court reversed his conviction’
      • ‘The American Civil Liberties Union, which demanded the T-shirt ban be lifted and the suspensions reversed, said the case is really about free speech.’
      • ‘The appellate court, though it reversed the defendant's trial court victory, agreed that such an argument could be pursued.’
      • ‘Judge Brown, when you were reversed, was that a horrible personal feeling for a judge to get reversed by a higher court?’
      • ‘Many of these rulings are judgment calls that cannot be reversed by an appellate court unless the trial judge makes an egregiously bad judgment.’
      • ‘There are a few things, though, that they don't seem to like; one is being reversed by a higher court.’
      • ‘However, the High Court reversed the lower court decision yesterday, reducing sentences for most of those convicted in the construction fault case.’
      • ‘Appellate courts generally don't like to reverse trial courts' evidence calls.’
      • ‘There are no prospects that it would be reversed in this Court.’
      • ‘Last April, the Supreme Court reversed the High Court ruling.’
      • ‘An Ohio appellate court last week reversed a lower court ruling that the city's pernicious treatment of marijuana users was unconstitutional under state law.’
      • ‘It is no wonder that the federal appeals court refused to reverse Whittemore's ruling.’
      • ‘The Supreme Court finally reversed the high court judgement and sent the cases back for trial in January 2003.’
      • ‘The High Court of Australia first sat in Brisbane in May 1904 and, perhaps in a sign of things to come, reversed the Full Court which had upheld the trial judge's decision.’
      • ‘In detailed submissions Mr Page sought to demonstrate that the finding was not supported by the evidence and that it should be reversed by this court.’
      • ‘The judges in this case cite the troubled relationship between the murderer and her own mother as justification for reversing the sentence of the lower court.’
      • ‘When the Supreme Court reversed Newdow on narrow technical grounds, Kennedy was spared from facing the consequences of his own jurisprudence.’
      • ‘Nonetheless, the Supreme Court might see fit to reverse the Court of Appeals' decision.’
      • ‘The Supreme Court reversed the Ninth Circuit's decision by a 6-3 vote.’
      • ‘In December 2000, the Tokyo High Court reversed Mainali's acquittal and sentenced him to life in prison.’
      • ‘Appealed again, however, the case was reversed by the Supreme Court.’
    6. 1.6 (of an engine) work in a contrary direction.
      ‘the ship's engines reversed and cut out altogether’
      • ‘Changing gears, the machine reversed and then turned left, breaking out onto one of the main streets momentarily.’
      • ‘The engines were stopped and reversed, and the vessel ascended backwards.’
      • ‘They reached the deck just as the cruiser's engines reversed, bringing them alongside the victims.’
      • ‘The shipped lurched as the engines reversed so suddenly.’
      • ‘Then disaster struck (and I'm not sure what exactly happened), as I woke up to find the engines at full power reversing away from shore with Nicholas waving frantically.’
    7. 1.7Printing with object Make (type or a design) print as white in a block of solid color or a halftone.
      ‘their press ads had a headline reversed out of the illustration’
      • ‘The screen is a reversed LCD, giving white text on a black background.’
      • ‘Weird images with psycho colours or strangely reversed black and white tones are the hallmarks of using this type of film.’
      • ‘In the six remaining pictures the colours are reversed, to make a pattern of black crosses on a white ground.’
      • ‘Type ‘X,’ which will reverse the colours so white is now on top.’


  • 1attributive Going in or turned toward the direction opposite to that previously stated.

    ‘the trend appears to be going in the reverse direction’
    • ‘This organization feels that at a time when all countries are tightening their citizenship laws after the Sept 11 attack, India is thinking in the reverse direction.’
    • ‘When the reverse side is worked to completion, the lacquer is heated and the metal sheet separated and thoroughly cleaned and work begins on the front.’
    • ‘It's $200 more to do a one-way U-Haul rental from Brooklyn to Baltimore than it is to do it in the reverse direction.’
    • ‘This revision supports 3.1Mbps on the forward link and 384Kbps on the reverse link.’
    • ‘Later the two made the fundamental discovery that transplants from inbreds to hybrids were successful, whereas the reverse transplants were rejected.’
    • ‘Southbound traffic will be diverted via Junction 35 in the reverse direction to Junction 34.’
    • ‘Primers were designed to provide redundancy in both the forward and the reverse directions.’
    • ‘The front side of the coins features the design of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests in the Temple of the Heaven of Beijing, while the reverse side features the giant panda and bamboo forests.’
    • ‘In this section of the trajectory, the transition probabilities for advancing toward the bulk are smaller than those for the reverse direction.’
    • ‘The bar code will be printed on the reverse side of the ballot paper on the declaration of identity.’
    • ‘Imagine my horror when one day I glanced at the reverse side of some scratch work only to discover it was a letter of recommendation written for a student at Macalester.’
    • ‘Leading the Shenandoah reinforcements from the railhead at Manassas Junction, Jackson formed on the reverse slope of Henry House Hill and halted the rout.’
    • ‘Now put the book back in its starting position, and carry out these two operations in the reverse order.’
    • ‘The reverse process (technology invented to accommodate a law or to facilitate its implementation) is more rare.’
    • ‘Vehicles will be allowed from D'Souza Circle to Richmond Circle and not in the reverse direction.’
    • ‘I ended up travelling on to the next stop and then returning in the reverse direction.’
    • ‘The warm air rises and often gets trapped near the ceiling area; the reverse air flow from the fan will help circulate the warm air around your whole room.’
    • ‘Few enter over the age of 30 and although some may retire early and take up positions in private industry and public corporations, there is little traffic in the reverse direction.’
    • ‘The first train to Morecambe is now 15.00 ex Leeds and in the reverse direction 17.40 ex Morecambe.’
    • ‘It is the same fascination that fuels a steady flow of Rhodes scholars to our universities and a reverse flow of Britons to Yale, Stanford and Harvard.’
    opposite, contrary, converse, counter, inverse, obverse, opposing, contrasting, antithetical
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Operating, behaving, or ordered in a way contrary or opposite to that which is usual or expected.
      ‘here are the results in reverse order’
      • ‘First, I centered the towers within the 8 inches I had allowed for the foreground image and cut the poster with reverse bevels using my mat cutter.’
      • ‘A poor kick from Barkley allowed Wales to counter, and a brilliant reverse pass from Dafydd Jones saw Shane Williams draw Jason Robinson to put Taylor over in the left corner.’
      • ‘If anything, it allows for a reverse form of cultural prejudice, through which critics idealize large groups of people they barely understand.’
      • ‘As a result of this amazing reverse flow, the lake expands from 2,700 square kilometers in the dry season to no less than 16,000 sq km.’
      • ‘The valves are arranged to prevent retrograde or reverse blood flow.’
      • ‘Many commercial firms report significant reductions in initial purchase prices by using Internet-based reverse auctions.’
      • ‘He was going to fly the airplane backwards using reverse engine thrust!’
      • ‘There would be a reverse tide, flowing up the river equally as fast as the normal downriver flow.’
      • ‘Although the exhibition follows a basic chronological trajectory, the linear flow of history is frequently interrupted by reverse flows and eddies.’
      • ‘The duckbill valve must prevent reverse flow and airflow back to the heart, which could cause an embolism.’
      • ‘Next, step backward with your left leg into a reverse lunge and bring the ball to your left hip.’
      • ‘We suggest this reverse flow of information will have an unanticipated effect on agriculture.’
      • ‘A reverse mortgage allows senior citizens to earn tax-free income by tapping the equity in their homes.’
      • ‘The Society no doubt had to make a reverse calculation in order to determine the differential final bonuses.’
      • ‘Damian ran toward Kale and holding the sword backwards, he sliced in a reverse motion, making it difficult for his opponent to do anything but defend himself.’
      • ‘In spring when the air temperature outside the bin is higher than the grain temperature, a reverse convection current will occur.’
      • ‘As with the Arnold press, the palms-facing-backward position of the reverse barbell press allows you to comfortably start from the lowest position.’
      • ‘Here are the Top Three singles from this week in 1978 and 1988, in alternate reverse order.’
      • ‘The unique interaction between the two technologies creates security features that are nearly impossible to counterfeit, duplicate or reverse engineer.’
      • ‘We detected no tidal effects on salinity or water level in the impoundment, despite reverse flow at the fishway.’
      backward, backwards, reversed, inverted, transposed, from bottom to top
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2Electronics (of a voltage applied to a semiconductor junction) in the direction which does not allow significant current to flow.
      • ‘Grove proved that his reverse principle worked, and generated a powerful current in his laboratory, but the practical applications of his invention failed to stir him.’
      • ‘This result is consistent with outward NCKX current being generated by the reverse mode of exchange.’
      • ‘In fact, after a certain degree of reverse bias, the junction will go into what's known as ‘breakdown’.’
    3. 1.3Geology Denoting a fault or faulting in which a relative downward movement occurred in the strata situated on the underside of the fault plane.
      • ‘The fault is interpreted as a north-directed reverse fault with a possible minor left-lateral strike-slip component.’
      • ‘The basin experienced east-west folding and reverse faulting soon after deposition ended.’
      • ‘It is not known whether the thrusts and reverse faults represent reactivated extensional basement structures or formed entirely during basin inversion.’
      • ‘Both steep and shallow-dipping reverse fault planes have been observed.’
      • ‘Previous work has demonstrated the presence of important, post-glacial reverse faults in Norway.’


  • 1A complete change of direction or action.

    ‘the growth actuates a reverse of photosynthesis’
    • ‘A reverse of the pendulum could prove as catastrophic as the 1930s, with the rise of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.’
    • ‘But in the last few months, the licensing market has gone into a sharp reverse.’
    • ‘I used to hate that noise; now it's oddly nostalgic - a wistful reverse.’
    • ‘In what was a reverse of events of Tynecastle, the Glasgow giants rolled over their inter-city adversaries with a breathtaking simplicity to surge ahead in the title race.’
    • ‘This represents a reverse in the spending trends of recent years and should ensure a balance in road and path surface quality within the urban boundaries’
    • ‘Profit may be possible with continued success, particularly in Europe, but what Romanov proposes demands a reverse of the prudence that has taken Hearts this far.’
    • ‘This is a trend I haven't seen since I was a kid: the reverse of this huge outflow of talented people.’
    • ‘After years of a falling birth rate, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Britain, and France are showing signs of a reverse while others are learning from their example.’
    • ‘The census also noted a reverse in the long-term decline in the Church of Ireland, Presbyterian and Methodist faiths, with sizeable increases witnesses across the board.’
    • ‘He and Marx both understood that history was both kind and unkind, that it had its stops, starts, and occasional reverses.’
    • ‘‘The North Koreans are going to wait until after the election because they saw a big policy reverse after Clinton,’ he said.’
    • ‘It's a switchback of mood-swings and reverses.’
    • ‘In a total reverse of privatisation, foreign-owned companies will have to be nationalised and then immediately taken over by the people in the region they are situated or where they operate.’
    • ‘Mr Brian Farrell said last year's increase was a reverse of the downward trend in road deaths achieved in both 2002 and 2003.’
    • ‘Tickets for other Amalgamation matches should soon be available and it is hoped that more extensive advertising and a reduced number of contests at favoured venues will see a reverse in the dwindling attendances.’
    1. 1.1 Reverse gear on a motor vehicle; the position of a gear lever or selector corresponding to this.
      See also "in reverse" below
      • ‘Certainly, if you were to buy a 6-series, I recommend you select reverse when leaving friends' houses so they don't see its backside.’
      • ‘The benefit is that it allows hands-off forward or reverse travel without affecting left/right steering.’
      • ‘Linked with reverse, it allows the drivers to see in wide-angle the path behind their car.’
      • ‘The powertrain is tied directly to the differential, and forward or reverse are selected via a switch on the dash.’
      • ‘An automatic transmission shifter is used to select forward and reverse.’
      • ‘It had a peculiar gearstick, and the driver could find reverse only after various undignified contortions.’
      • ‘He jumped into his car and shifted the gear onto reverse.’
      • ‘It was a tiny machine to which an Italian engineer applied a turbine to each of its four wheels, two for forward running, two for reverse.’
      • ‘The Allison MD3560 six forward plus one reverse speed automatic transmission has differentials and final drives on both the rear and front cabins.’
      • ‘A driver crashed into the front of his home yesterday after mistaking first gear for reverse.’
      • ‘Chris disengaged the clutch, selected reverse, re-engaged the clutch and floored the accelerator within four seconds.’
      • ‘By sliding your finger up and down that strip, you can control the sub-light speed of the ship, from full throttle to full reverse.’
      • ‘For some odd reason she always turned too little, reversed too far or accelerated before changing the gear back from reverse to drive.’
      • ‘The buggies have automatic gearboxes with reverse and the quads are manual five-speeds.’
      • ‘She shifted from reverse into first and pulled out of the alley.’
      • ‘The manual box is pretty nifty, but heavy to select reverse, and the overdrive sixth and high fifth gears mean it depends on left wrist exercise.’
      • ‘Try each gear including reverse with the brake on to see how fast it engages each gear and how much play it has.’
      • ‘Heaton swore under his breath, cussing and blaming the English weather and he switched on his windscreen wipers as he put his gear on reverse and began to drive out of the car park.’
      • ‘This is important because, due to the paddle gear-change, it could be just too easy to change down all the gears, hit neutral, and then select reverse by mistake.’
      • ‘This monitor provides live full-color video through the Vehicle Information System whenever reverse is engaged.’
    2. 1.2American Football A play in which the ballcarrier reverses the direction of attack by lateraling or handling the ball to a teammate moving in the opposite direction.
      • ‘Don't be surprised to see him get the ball more on reverses, because the team needs to make use of his game-breaking speed.’
      • ‘In the second quarter, he ran a reverse 10 yards to the goal line that set up a one-yard TD pass on the next play.’
      • ‘The team tries to throw the ball to him deep, but offensive coordinator Jack Reilly also likes to get Ismail the ball on reverses, hitches and screen passes so he can use his speed.’
      • ‘And just maybe he might touch the ball on a reverse.’
      • ‘The team will give Johnson the ball on reverses, and it will use him at flanker and split end and in the slot.’
  • 2the reverseThe opposite or contrary to that previously stated.

    ‘he didn't feel homesick—quite the reverse’
    • ‘If Freelove's body language in singles seemed despondent, he was quite the reverse in the doubles.’
    • ‘Quite the reverse: all the evidence suggests that we can feed and fuel that number with ease and still increase the land devoted to conservation.’
    • ‘The paper will demonstrate that knowledge of program cost does not allow for prediction of program duration, neither is the reverse possible.’
    • ‘We certainly didn't think it unfair: quite the reverse.’
    • ‘Surely that wouldn't happen with Young, and the reverse, in fact, would be more likely.’
    • ‘He denied that Simms and Sylvester ran to attack them; the reverse was the case.’
    • ‘Quinn said the economy will be damaged if the Nice Treaty is rejected, while the No campaign claimed the reverse is true.’
    • ‘And being fat isn't exactly fashionable today - quite the reverse.’
    • ‘Remember, if you add equipment you can take weight off but the reverse also applies.’
    • ‘As art and politics came closer together, it might be reasonable to expect greater harmony between artists and policy makers, and yet it often seems that the reverse is true.’
    • ‘It also seemed that while it might be expected that parents who talked and interacted with their children would have more creative offspring, the reverse was true.’
    • ‘And the idea that this book helped Diana in her life, I think, is quite the reverse of the truth.’
    • ‘But although you can move your head as a result of taking your eye off the ball, the reverse of this, unfortunately, is not true.’
    • ‘The reverse is and will be true in large pickups.’
    • ‘She spoke of the verse in the Koran which is often taken to permit polygamy and showed how it might in fact have meant quite the reverse.’
    • ‘Comparing the latest results with the previous quarter the reverse is true: sales are down, but income is up.’
    • ‘If guns deterred violence, he argues, the reverse would be true.’
    • ‘You would have thought that good players would make good managers, but often the reverse is the case.’
    • ‘‘I can't really imagine life without Formula One,’ mused Schumacher this weekend, and perhaps the reverse is also true.’
    • ‘Also if we agree with the reasoning that conventional methodology stifles curiosity and motivation, we need to think: is the reverse true then?’
    opposite, contrary, converse, inverse, obverse, antithesis, opposite extreme, other extreme
    View synonyms
  • 3An adverse change of fortune; a setback or defeat.

    ‘the team suffered its heaviest reverse of the season’
    • ‘With every reverse, or seeming reverse, that the Americans suffer, the schadenfreude in Germany reaches new heights, or depths.’
    • ‘Both sides began the campaign with high hopes, with the Villagers in particular suffering a terrible reverse in fortunes having just missed out on promotion when finishing third last year.’
    • ‘That was the message from coach Richard Agar after York City Knights fell to their third defeat in a row on Sunday, the first time they have suffered a triple reverse since April last year.’
    • ‘I cannot visualise the situation where Pakistan does not use it even when it faces reverse after reverse.’
    • ‘This will force hundreds of thousands of middle-income debtors to make significant payments to creditors from their current income, even if they subsequently lose their jobs or suffer other economic reverses.’
    • ‘At 32-0 down at the break, the Wasps could have capitulated, but they lost only by two tries to one in the second half to suggest that huge reverses are not going to again be a weekly occurrence.’
    • ‘After a run of nine games during which Hegarty had nothing but praise for his players, the midweek reverse against Dunfermline was the first time the manager felt his players had let him and themselves down.’
    • ‘York nearly suffered a first-minute reverse when scrum-half Spik Arkle gave a loose pass which enabled Huddersfield to race towards the line.’
    • ‘Between 1846 and 1914 - the period when the British claim to hegemony seems most plausible - the United Kingdom too suffered a few reverses, of course.’
    • ‘The Pirates could count themselves the unluckiest team in the country, with one point losses against Stockport, Vauxhall, and Exeter, as well as their opening overtime reverse.’
    • ‘Despite the reverse, Kiwi Searancke's players earned a consolation bonus point to cling on to their lead in Pool B and remain on course to secure a home quarter-final.’
    • ‘Keighley Shamrocks slipped two positions following their home reverse against Eastmoor.’
    • ‘In the Bank Alfalah Cup, New Zealand suffered a major reverse with spearhead Bond, afflicted by a sore back, flying home after the first game.’
    • ‘Having come through the Leicester mill, he says that coach John Wells and the senior Tigers players will use the reverse by Gloucester to goad their team.’
    • ‘But it was merely the most stunning in a series of reverses suffered by Labour in one night of carnage in town halls across England and Wales.’
    • ‘Limerick have proved the most consistent in the regular league rounds with their only reverse being suffered in the first round, against Cork.’
    • ‘Fortunately he didn't turn up, or we might have suffered an embarrassing reverse, as he's probably stronger than us.’
    • ‘There was not an awful lot wrong with the performance and while getting beat is never welcomed you can normally suffer a reverse more easily if you known you've played well.’
    • ‘British attempts to breach the heights beyond the Tugela River and open the way to Ladysmith were to suffer further reverses.’
    • ‘When we suffer reverses, difficulties, disease or tragedy, we may feel deep down that our birthright as believers has been taken from us.’
    setback, reversal, upset, check, non-success, failure, misfortune, mishap, misadventure, accident, disaster, tragedy, catastrophe, blow, disappointment, adversity, hardship, affliction, vicissitude, defeat, rout
    View synonyms
  • 4The opposite side or face to the observer.

    ‘the address is given on the reverse of this leaflet’
    • ‘It would help to ascertain the temporal relationship between the inscriptions on the reverse and the quota list on the obverse.’
    • ‘The movement of the primary root tip was marked on the reverse of the dishes at the beginning of the experiments, and at time lapses of 4, 8, and 24 h.’
    • ‘The board is hard-mounted and shows the US on one side and Germany on the reverse.’
    • ‘Characteristic multicellular, branched hairs were observed on the reverse of the tepals and upon the pedicellate ovary of all species.’
    • ‘His abstract design for the €10 featured a trout-like fish on one side and an ornate globe on the reverse.’
    • ‘The mats will show happy, smiling faces of young people on one side, but the reverse will reveal the scars, both mental and physical, that accidents can cause.’
    • ‘The production of the game is decent, the cards are clean and the explorer pieces are thick wooden disks with a picture on one side and quicksand on the reverse.’
    • ‘The date of 1555 inscribed on the reverse of the piece is consequently entirely compatible with all our results.’
    • ‘A completed entry form, available from the Arts Officer in eligible counties, must be attached to the reverse of a 10 x 8 photograph.’
    • ‘While gold coins are set on one side of this necklace, the reverse comprises units of rubies and emeralds encircled with pearls.’
    • ‘Records indicate that this subtly rendered but evidently posthumous image bore an inscription on its reverse identifying the subject as Wenceslas of Luxembourg.’
    • ‘In respect of this, the inscription on the reverse of the trough reads: ‘A righteous man regarded the life of his beast’.’
    • ‘Inscribed on the reverse, ‘Jehan de Court ma faict 1555’, it is the only fully signed and dated piece by the artist.’
    • ‘It's not a mere scratch disrupting the emulsion, but it's engraved on one side, and embossed on the reverse.’
    • ‘On the reverse is inscribed ‘Return from Europe RS 126’.’
    • ‘The ostensible subject is Dante's vision of the death of his lover, as expressed in a passage from the Italian poet's Vita Nuova, lines from which are inscribed on the reverse of the painting.’
    • ‘Du Sommerard continued by observing that the reverse of the image bore the initials of Louise de Savoye, Francis's mother.’
    • ‘Another shop's best sellers were key rings with the late Pope's picture on one side and St Peter's Basilica on the reverse, wallet-sized photos and pin badges of the late Pope.’
    • ‘Then I tried to peel it and realised that I had been writing on the waxy reverse, not on the sticker side.’
    • ‘There is an inscription on the reverse of the Portrait of Laura which dates the portrait to 1 June 1506.’
    other side, reverse side, back, rear, underside, wrong side, flip side, b-side, verso
    View synonyms
    1. 4.1 A left-hand page of an open book, or the back of a loose document.
      • ‘Cheques should be made payable to Amala Children's Home and on the reverse write ‘Disaster Fund’ and your full name and address.’
      • ‘On the reverse of the leaflet there appeared this passage.’
      • ‘The clauses in the problem appear to be quite legible, but they are on the reverse of the document and there is no notice such as ‘See over for conditions’ on its face.’
      • ‘Include your name and address on the reverse of the poem page.’
      • ‘The reverse of the leaflet encourages prospective vegetarians with ‘hard, scientific information’.’
      • ‘She had already checked the reverse of the paper but found it to be blank.’
      reverse side, other side, underside
      View synonyms
    2. 4.2 The side of a coin or medal bearing the value or secondary design.
      • ‘Designing a medal is not just a case of sticking a logo on one side and the date and place on the reverse.’
      • ‘The first series all had the elephant on the reverse.’
      • ‘The medals themselves seem to be identical, both for the 1912 Bolton Bread Show, and on the reverse of each is ‘won by Joseph Wood’ engraved into the medal.’
      • ‘The reverse of the friendship medals, much like today's nickels, had a portrait of Thomas Jefferson.’
      • ‘King Vajiravudh continued to use the three-headed elephant on the reverse of his coins.’
      • ‘Vasari specifically attributed to Domenico di Polo one of these medals, with the impresa of Capricorn on its reverse, dating it to Cosimo's first year of office, 1537.’
      • ‘On the reverse there is an elephant in the center of the Chakra device with stars around the border as above.’
      • ‘It is the one baht coin with the King's portrait on the obverse and the three-headed elephant on the reverse.’
      • ‘The reverse of each coin has an individual design representing the country from which the coin originates.’
      • ‘The new coin carries some of the same designs as the old one; a coat of arms on one side and an image of the wildebeest on the reverse.’
      • ‘It is interesting to know that the engraver A. Patey only made the portrait side of the coin; another artist made the reverse with the three-headed elephant.’
      • ‘The first thing you have to do is carve out steel dies for the obverse and the reverse of the coin.’
      • ‘There were eight different denominations, with Metcalfe's design of an animal on the reverse of each coin.’
      • ‘So many items were placed on some pyres, that it is tempting to think these must have been tiered like the depictions of some imperial funerals on the reverses of coins.’
      • ‘The moneyer's name, Eoba, is on the reverse, each letter in a petal of a quatrefoil.’
    3. 4.3 The design or inscription on the reverse side of a coin or medal.
      See also obverse (sense 1 of the noun)
      • ‘The reverse of the Afghanistan Medal is based on a portion of a snow-capped mountain range with a multi-rayed sun rising behind the mountains.’
      • ‘The reverse of the coin has been designed to represent celebration, victory and sportsmanship with a triumphant figure holding aloft a streaming banner symbolising the lanes of a track or swimming pool.’
      • ‘The obverse of the medal shows the portrait of King Louis XIV and the reverse shows the Thai ambassadors showing their respect during the audience with the King.’
      • ‘The obverse is the same as on the smaller coins, but the reverse is different.’


  • in (or into) reverse

    • 1(of a motor vehicle) in reverse gear so as to travel backward.

      ‘he put the Cadillac into reverse’
      • ‘She threw the van into reverse and sped backwards, gaining enough distance that she could turn the big van around and flee from the scene of battle.’
      • ‘Then the seven vehicles started to move away, travelling in reverse.’
      • ‘Justin shifted into reverse and began to drive backwards until the headlights showed us the path to the correct exit.’
      • ‘I stepped off to the side so he wouldn't run over my feet as he threw the car into reverse and gunned it backwards, oblivious to the fact that there might be a car coming over the crest of the hill at 50 mph.’
      • ‘Fichter threw the car into reverse and took off down the alley, backwards.’
      • ‘The gearshift clicks into reverse and we slide backwards until we begin to slip in the wrong direction.’
      • ‘Rya put the car in reverse, and I stepped back as the car rolled backwards out of the driveway.’
      • ‘It requires no auxiliary hydraulics and will scarify only when the loader is traveling in reverse.’
      • ‘I grunted and lifted my foot off the brake so that the car rolled backwards in reverse.’
      • ‘Straight away I put the car into reverse and shot out backwards.’
      1. 1.1In the opposite direction or manner from usual.
        ‘a similar ride next year will do the route in reverse’
        • ‘If you want to understand its political message, think Ragged Trousered Philanthropists in reverse.’
        • ‘Digestion is alchemy in reverse, with all manner of treasures ultimately being reduced to base material.’
        • ‘When the erectile process works in reverse the smooth muscles contract and the arteries again become constricted.’
        • ‘Growing government intervention, in contrast, throws this process into reverse.’
        • ‘He appears to have followed Herjulfsson's route in reverse, making three landfalls.’
        • ‘What happens in reverse, when motorists are directed to half-empty car parks, and arrive to find them full?’
        • ‘These are mathematical operations that are very simple to compute in one direction, but require huge computing power to perform in reverse.’
        • ‘In particular, the dance steps associated with the antimasque were often inversions, or dance steps performed in reverse.’
        • ‘West bound traffic will be following the same route in reverse.’
        • ‘Alejandro held the knife in reverse, so that its blade pointed to the direction of the ground.’
        conversely, inversely, the other way round, contrariwise, oppositely, in reverse, reciprocally
        View synonyms
  • reverse the charges

    • Make the recipient of a telephone call responsible for payment.

      • ‘But he was on temporary duty for three of the six months we dated, and when he called me, he reversed the charges.’
      • ‘Sending money abroad is like making a phone call and reversing the charges - something you were always warned should only be done in an emergency as it costs a fortune.’
      • ‘‘If he didn't have the money to ring, he would have reversed the charges,’ she said.’
      • ‘One big daily newspaper here refused to take my colleague's call because she was having to reverse the charges.’
      • ‘Never one to shrink away from controversy, he said: ‘The Aberdonians must be reversing the charges if they are spending so long on the phone.’’
      • ‘At the same time (inasmuch as time has any meaning over mind-bogglingly long distances), Jonah was reversing the charges on a phonecall to his mum.’
      • ‘‘If you've not reversed the charges, can I take my time?’ chuckled Haig.’
      • ‘You can even reverse the charges, should you need advice or an ear to talk to.’


Middle English: from Old French revers, reverse (nouns), reverser (verb), from Latin reversus ‘turned back’, past participle of revertere, from re- ‘back’ + vertere ‘to turn’.