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[adj., n. in-vurs, in-vurs; v. in-vurs] /adj., n. ɪnˈvɜrs, ˈɪn vɜrs; v. ɪnˈvɜrs/
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.
an inverted state or condition.
something that is inverse; the direct opposite.
  1. 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.
  2. inverse function.
  3. 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.
  4. the set of such inverses of the points of a given set, as the points on a curve.
verb (used with object), inversed, inversing.
to invert.
1605-15; < Latin inversus, past participle of invertere to turn upside down or inside out, reverse. See in-2, verse
Can be confused
converse, inverse, obverse, reverse (see synonym study at reverse) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for inverse
  • His authority is felt in inverse proportion to his presence.
  • The time spent on any agenda item is in direct, inverse proportion to the amount of money involved.
  • Without question, there are certain elements that exist in inverse proportion to each other.
  • The external jugular vein varies in size, bearing an inverse proportion to the other veins of the neck, it is occasionally double.
  • Computer vision is the inverse problem of computer graphics.
  • If you look at inverse filtering you will never see a glottal pulse that isn't somewhat skewed to the right.
  • First of all, the inverse square law will play havoc with trying to detect any radio signals.
  • But the surface friction velocity is also an inverse function of the surface roughness.
  • Probably an inverse correlation between the two needs.
  • Gravity can be thought of simplistically with inverse-square laws.
British Dictionary definitions for inverse


/ɪnˈvɜːs; ˈɪnvɜːs/
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 other: the 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; inverted: in an inverse position
  1. another name for reciprocal (sense 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 Forms
inversely, adverb
Word Origin
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
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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
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inverse in Science
Adjective  (ĭn-vûrs')
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.

Noun  (ĭn'vûrs')
  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 1/5 , since 5 × 1/5 = 1, the identity element under multiplication. The inverse of 5 under addition is -5, since 5 + -5 = 0.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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inverse in Technology

Given a function, f : D -> C, a function g : C -> D is called a left inverse for f if for all d in D, g (f d) = d and a right inverse if, for all c in C, f (g c) = c and an inverse if both conditions hold. Only an injection has a left inverse, only a surjection has a right inverse and only a bijection has inverses. The inverse of f is often written as f with a -1 superscript.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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