Etymology: Middle English revers, from Anglo-French, from Latin reversus, past participle of revertere to turn back — more at revert
Date: 14th century
a. opposite or contrary to a previous or normal condition <reverse order> b. (1) having the back presented to the observer or opponent (2) made with one's back to the basketball net <a reverse layup> 2. coming from the rear of a military force 3. acting, operating, or arranged in a manner contrary to the usual 4. effecting reverse movement <reverse gear> 5. so made that the part which normally prints in color appears white against a colored background • reversely adverb II. verb (reversed; reversing) Date: 14th century transitive verb 1. a. to turn completely about in position or direction b. to turn upside down ; invert c. to cause to take an opposite point of view <reversed herself on the issue> 2. negate, undo: as a. to overthrow, set aside, or make void (a legal decision) by a contrary decision b. to change to the contrary <reverse a policy> c. to undo or negate the effect of (as a condition or surgical operation) <had his vasectomy reversed> 3. to cause to go in the opposite direction; especially to cause (as an engine) to perform its action in the opposite direction intransitive verb 1. to turn or move in the opposite direction <the count's waltzing…consisted…of reversing at top speed — Agatha Christie> 2. to put a mechanism (as an engine) in reverse • reverser noun Synonyms: reverse, transpose, invert mean to change to the opposite position. reverse is the most general term and may imply change in order, side, direction, meaning <reversed his position on the trade agreement>. transpose implies a change in order or relative position of units often through exchange of position <transposed the letters to form an anagram>. invert applies chiefly to turning upside down or inside out <a stamp with an inverted picture of an airplane>. III. noun Date: 14th century 1. something directly contrary to something else ; opposite 2. an act or instance of reversing; especially defeat, setback <suffered financial reverses> 3. the back part of something; especially the side of a coin or currency note that is opposite the obverse 4. a. (1) a gear that reverses something; also the whole mechanism brought into play when such a gear is used (2) movement in reverse b. an offensive play in football in which a back moving in one direction gives the ball to a player moving in the opposite direction
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.