Definition of reversion in US English:



  • 1A return to a previous state, practice, or belief.

    ‘there was some reversion to polytheism’
    ‘a reversion to the two-party system’
    • ‘For larger companies, including the Rangers and Arsenal football clubs and the brewer Adnams, a reversion to the previous system is likely to have a minimal effect on investors.’
    • ‘Lee leaves behind a young, but firmly rooted democracy, that makes a reversion to the past decade's reforms only a very remote possibility.’
    • ‘His references to ‘God’ did not mark a reversion to religion, but expressed a certain awe at the workings of nature.’
    • ‘This year represents a reversion to form, with the highly debatable ‘influence’ as the new twist.’
    • ‘Most Irish commentators speak in terms of soft landings, corrections, or a reversion to more balanced growth rates from 2008 onwards.’
    • ‘And so I wonder if there is a reversion to some of that Cold War mindset.’
    • ‘Another friend notes a shift in the type of gifts given at wedding showers, a reversion to 1950s-style offerings: soup ladles and frilly aprons are being unwrapped along with see-through nighties and push-up bras.’
    • ‘Consensus was readily reached on one proposition: that a reversion to depression conditions was intolerable and unacceptable.’
    • ‘The British are still reticent about their deepest fears - class war, a reversion to economic feudalism, the spectre of an all-dominant and all-vapid consumer society.’
    • ‘The return to a policy of non-intervention in Afghanistan was a reversion to a mid-Victorian orthodoxy, rather than simply a reflection of Gladstone's personal views.’
    • ‘But because Gorbachev had not yet consolidated his hold on power, or perhaps because the sheer scale of what was happening in Ukraine scared him, the Chernobyl disaster occasioned a reversion to old habits.’
    • ‘The most powerful impulse of the time can be summed up as neoclassicism, a reversion to the purist attempts of the Renaissance to reproduce classical models.’
    • ‘Although this might seem a reversion to earlier consensus or opinion based guidelines, it is very useful where necessary evidence is found to be lacking despite an extensive literature search.’
    • ‘It was a reversion to type not unknown from the leader of a party that, from the start, set itself firmly against democracy and inclusivity.’
    • ‘The change in occupational structure shows the image of a reversion to trend after the short-term break caused by the economic crisis.’
    • ‘‘It's very important to press ahead to avoid a reversion to the bad old days,’ said one person.’
    • ‘The hospital's environmental project co-ordinator, said the change was merely a reversion to the system that operated at the old Princess Margaret Hospital.’
    • ‘On the surface this seems like a reversion to the traditional area of politics.’
    • ‘The institution of joint army/police patrols in the cities aroused mixed feelings; they may have been necessary where crime was large-scale and violent, but they were thought to symbolize a reversion to coercive practices.’
    • ‘This kind of intimate killing is a reversion to pre-industrial warfare - the kind of brutality seen in the Thirty Years War, for example.’
    decline, lapse, deterioration, worsening, degeneration, backsliding, recidivism, regression, retrogression, downturn, fall, falling, falling away, slipping, drop, descent, sinking, slide
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    1. 1.1Biology The action of reverting to a former or ancestral type.
      • ‘In the subtlest cases of reflowering there is little internode elongation on reversion and plants display varying degrees of phyllody before continuing flower development.’
      • ‘This may explain the sometimes rapid reversion to ancestral cell sizes.’
      • ‘Does reversion, allowing a return to the vegetative mode after flowering, have any relevance to life-history strategy?’
      • ‘In the case of T-DNA and some transposon insertions there is no realistic possibility of reversion to wild type.’
      • ‘When they began their new regimens, 19 of those 24 saw the virus in their blood return to undetectable levels, compared with just one of nine people who did not experience a reversion to the wild-type virus.’
  • 2Law
    The right, especially of the original owner or their heirs, to possess or succeed to property on the death of the present possessor or at the end of a lease.

    ‘the reversion of property’
    • ‘Thus when the lease is disclaimed it is determined and the reversion accelerated but the rights and liabilities of others, such as guarantors and original tenants, are to remain as though the lease had continued and not been determined.’
    • ‘Until recently there seems to have been some lack of awareness of the provision for reversion, but this is probably no longer the case.’
    • ‘Thirdly, do they say there was an estate in reversion created in the Crown under these statutes?’
    • ‘The underlease contained various covenants by Mr Walker and Mr Mittee not to deal in any way with the reversion to the lease.’
    • ‘For these reasons we prefer the analysis put forward in the respondent's notice to the theory of automatic reversion which the judge favoured.’
    1. 2.1 A property to which someone has the right of reversion.
      • ‘In what follows, we are primarily concerned with disposition on sale, but it must be remembered that there are other occasions besides sale on which leases and reversions may pass to new owners.’
      • ‘In Lotteryking Lightman J held that the set-off operated because the assignee had succeeded to the reversion and to its annexed covenants.’
      • ‘Mr Shapiro accepted that the proposed underletting to Telco would cause no risk to Riverland's income stream, or to the value of Riverland's reversion, during the remainder of the term of the Lease.’
      • ‘Their value and purpose would be undermined if the security was always defeasible on a transfer of his reversion by the reversioner.’
      • ‘As Denning LJ stated in Smiley v. Townshend the question to be asked is by what amount, at the end of the lease, was the value of the existing reversion reduced by reason of the lack of repair.’
    2. 2.2 The right of succession to an office or post after the death or retirement of the holder.
      ‘he was given a promise of the reversion of Boraston's job’
      • ‘Next year sees the 10th anniversary of the Treaty of Granita, when Gordon ceded the leadership to Tony, on the promise of the reversion of it within a decade.’


Late Middle English (denoting the action of returning to or from a place): from Old French, or from Latin reversio(n-), from revertere ‘turn back’ (see reverse).