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a. The act or an instance of reversing.
b. The state of being reversed.
2. A usually adverse change in fortune: financial reversals.
3. Law The act or an instance of changing or setting aside a lower court's decision by a higher court.
4. Sports A maneuver in wrestling in which a competitor being controlled by the opponent suddenly reverses the situation and gains control.


1. the act or an instance of reversing
2. a change for the worse; reverse: a reversal of fortune.
3. the state of being reversed
4. (Law) the annulment of a judicial decision, esp by an appeal court on grounds of error or irregularity


(rɪˈvɜr səl)

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



catch a tartar To experience a reversal of expectations, particularly in dealing with another person; to find intractable one anticipated to be docile; to meet one’s match, often specifically to marry a shrew.

What a Tartar have I caught!
(John Dry den, Kind Keeper, 1678)

By extension the phrase may mean to have a bargain backfire, an advantage prove a liability, a gift becomes a curse, and similar reversals.

Frankenstein monster An invention or other creation that eventually works against or kills its creator; something that backfires or boomerangs. The expression comes from Mary Shelley’s famous work Frankenstein (1818), in which the notorious monster turned against and destroyed its maker, Dr. Frankenstein. The phrase is used figuratively to describe a project or undertaking begun with good intentions, but which ultimately develops into an uncontrollable agent of destruction or evil.

Is Great Britain creating for herself something of a Frankenstein monster on the Nile? (Saturday Review, April, 1907)

hoist with one’s own petard To be defeated by a plan that backfires; to be caught in one’s own trap. In this expression, petard refers to an ancient, short-fuzed time bomb or grenade. Obviously, a soldier who placed the charge was endangered not only by enemy fire, but also by the exploding petard if he did not get away soon enough or if the fuze were faulty. So many soldiers were killed by exploding petards that the expression came into widespread literal, and later, figurative, use.

Let it work;
For tis sport, to have the engineer
Hoist with his own petard; and it
shall go hard
But I will delve one yard below
their mines,
And blow them at the moon.
(Shakespeare, Hamlet, III, iv)

my Venus turns out a whelp An expression formerly used on experiencing a reversal of expectations, a failure instead of the anticipated success. The expression comes from dice: the highest roll, three sixes, was called a Venus; the lowest, three aces, a canis (dog). The aptness was reinforced by the association of Venus with beauty and divinity, and of whelp with cur and mongrel.

the shoe is on the other foot The situation is reversed. This expression, with its obvious allusion, is most often used in reference to a certain poetic justice that results from the exchange or reversal of disparate roles: the controller becomes the controlled, the oppressor becomes the oppressed, the critic becomes the criticized, and so on.

Recently, much to British chagrin, the shoe was on the other foot. (The Nation, March 17, 1945)

the tables are turned The situation is completely reversed, roles have been switched, positions interchanged; the exact opposite is now the case. The tables in this expression refers to the playing boards which, in certain games, are fully turned round, so that the relative positions of the adversaries are reversed. The phrase often implies that one now enjoys (or suffers) the perspective formerly held by an opponent. The following citation shows both figurative application and literal derivation:

Whosoever thou art that dost another wrong, do but turn the tables: imagine thy neighbour were now playing thy game, and thou his. (Bishop Robert Sanderson, Sermons, 1634)

It also illustrates the active use of the phrase, somewhat less common today, turn tables or turn the tables on.

turn the tide To reverse the current trend of events, especially from one extreme to the other; to turn the tables. Tide (literally the ebb and flow of the ocean waters) is used here figuratively to represent the course or direction in which any matter or concern is moving.

ugly duckling A homely or unpromising child who blossoms into a beautiful or accomplished adult; anything appearing to lack redeeming qualities that subsequently proves worthy of respect and notice. This expression comes from Hans Christian Andersen’s Ugly Duckling, in which the title character, after struggling through a year of ridicule and hardship, develops into a glorious white swan. While the expression retains its human applications, it is also used for an inanimate object that is initially thought to be worthless but later proves to be a windfall. This figurative use of the phrase was illustrated by W. O. Douglas, as cited in Webster’s Third:

From the beginning Alaska was treated pretty much as our ugly duckling.

ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.reversal - a change from one state to the opposite statereversal - a change from one state to the opposite state; "there was a reversal of autonomic function"
change of state - the act of changing something into something different in essential characteristics
regress, retrogression, retroversion, regression, reversion - returning to a former state
2.reversal - an unfortunate happening that hinders or impedesreversal - an unfortunate happening that hinders or impedes; something that is thwarting or frustrating
happening, natural event, occurrence, occurrent - an event that happens
whammy - a serious or devastating setback
3.reversal - turning in an opposite direction or positionreversal - turning in an opposite direction or position; "the reversal of the image in the lens"
turning, turn - a movement in a new direction; "the turning of the wind"
4.reversal - a decision to reverse an earlier decision
deciding, decision making - the cognitive process of reaching a decision; "a good executive must be good at decision making"
afterthought, rethink, second thought, reconsideration - thinking again about a choice previously made; "he had second thoughts about his purchase"
5.reversal - a judgment by a higher court that the judgment of a lower court was incorrect and should be set aside
judicial decision, judgment, judgement - (law) the determination by a court of competent jurisdiction on matters submitted to it
law, jurisprudence - the collection of rules imposed by authority; "civilization presupposes respect for the law"; "the great problem for jurisprudence to allow freedom while enforcing order"
affirmation - a judgment by a higher court that the judgment of a lower court was correct and should stand
6.reversal - turning in the opposite directionreversal - turning in the opposite direction  
change of direction, reorientation - the act of changing the direction in which something is oriented
about turn, about-face - act of pivoting 180 degrees, especially in a military formation
u-turn - complete reversal of direction of travel
7.reversal - the act of reversing the order or place of
reordering - a rearrangement in a different order
8.reversal - a major change in attitude or principle or point of viewreversal - a major change in attitude or principle or point of view; "an about-face on foreign policy"
change - the action of changing something; "the change of government had no impact on the economy"; "his change on abortion cost him the election"
undoing - an act that makes a previous act of no effect (as if not done)


1. turnaround, U-turn, backtracking, turnabout, shift, swing, change of heart, turnround, volte-face the reversal of a steady downward trend
3. swap, change, trading, exchange, swapping, transposition a strange role reversal
4. failure, failing, loss, defeat, frustration, breakdown, downfall, lack of success They teach managers to accept reversal.


1. The act of changing or being changed from one position, direction, or course to the opposite:
2. A change from better to worse:
3. The act of reversing or annulling:
عَكْس، قَلْب، إنْقِلاب
tersine çevirme


[rɪˈvɜːsəl] N
1. (= change) [of order, roles] → inversión f; [of policy] → cambio m de rumbo; [of decision etc] → revocación f
2. (= setback) → revés m, contratiempo m


[rɪˈvɜːrsəl] n
(= change) [opinion] → revirement m; [policy, trend, position] → revirement m
a reversal of fortune → un revers de fortune
(= setback) → revers m
(= exchange) → inversion
a reversal of roles → une inversion des rôles role reversal
(LAW) [judgement, decision] → renversement m


(= turning the other way round, of order, situation, procedure) → Umkehren nt; (of objects, sentences, words)Umstellen nt, → Vertauschung f; (of garment)Wenden nt; (of result)Umkehren nt, → Umdrehen nt
(of verdict, judgement)Umstoßung f; (of decree)Aufhebung f; (of trend, process)Umkehrung f; (of policy)Umkrempeln nt; (of decision, surgical operation)Rückgängigmachen nt
(= setback)Rückschlag m; to suffer a reversaleinen Rückschlag erleiden


[rɪˈvɜːsl] n (of roles, tendencies) → inversione f; (of situation, fortunes) → capovolgimento; (of decision) → revoca
the reversal of industrial decline → il risollevamento delle sorti dell'industria


(rəˈvəːs) verb
1. to move backwards or in the opposite direction to normal. He reversed (the car) into the garage; He reversed the film through the projector.
2. to put into the opposite position, state, order etc. This jacket can be reversed (= worn inside out).
3. to change (a decision, policy etc) to the exact opposite. The man was found guilty, but the judges in the appeal court reversed the decision.
1. (also adjective) (the) opposite. `Are you hungry?' `Quite the reverse – I've eaten far too much!'; I take the reverse point of view.
2. a defeat; a piece of bad luck.
3. (a mechanism eg one of the gears of a car etc which makes something move in) a backwards direction or a direction opposite to normal. He put the car into reverse; (also adjective) a reverse gear.
4. (also adjective) (of) the back of a coin, medal etc. the reverse (side) of a coin.
reˈversal noun
a reversal of his previous decision.
reˈversed adjective
in the opposite state, position, order etc. Once he worked for me. Now our positions are reversed and I work for him.
reˈversible adjective
1. able to be reversed.
2. (of clothes) able to be worn with either side out. Is that raincoat reversible?
reverse the charges to make a telephone call (a reverse-charge call)
which is paid for by the person who receives it instead of by the caller.


n. reversión, restitución a un estado anterior.


n reversión f; vasectomy — reversión de vasectomía
References in periodicals archive ?
their poems one pair of reversal lines at a time, without reference to
Even such a seemingly complex construction as a word-unit RETEP sonnet is accessible to the patient novice, inasmuch as such poems are built up just one pair of reversal lines at a time, and if one can fashion one complementary pair of word-unit reversal lines of ten syllables each, one can certainly fashion six more and have a sonnet's worth.
The second enabling factor is that, because it is not easy to produce pairs of reversal lines that mesh both grammatically and semantically with neighboring lines in two separated parts of a poem while at the same time accommodating rhyme and meter, the lines in rhyming palindromic verse are generally made to be grammatically and semantically self-contained.