Definition of inversion in English:

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Pronunciation: /ɪnˈvəːʃ(ə)n/


1 [mass noun] The action of inverting something or the state of being inverted: the inversion of the normal domestic arrangement [count noun]: an inversion of traditional customer-supplier relationships
More example sentences
  • The British writer Melanie Phillips, no conservative, sees in such casual assertions a breathtaking illiberalism and inversion of traditional values.
  • The inversion of the traditional arrangement make the ocean view a communal experience.
  • The inversion of normal architectonic expectation is not just wilful, but has immense importance for the nature of space and experience.
reversal, transposition, turning about, turning upside down;
reverse, contrary, antithesis, converse, transposal
rare contrareity, antipode
1.1Reversal of the normal order of words, typically for rhetorical effect but also found in the regular formation of questions in English.
Example sentences
  • One of its little peculiarities is that along with front placement of the adverbial goes inversion of main verb and subject.
  • Some inversion occurs with questions: What it is?, How you are?
  • The speech is a masterpiece of shameless rhetoric and inversion of the topoi of legal oratory.
1.2 Music The process of inverting an interval, chord, or phrase.
Example sentences
  • I've found this sequencing only works sometimes, and it teaches students to confuse a chord's inversion with its function.
  • Could a chord be played in an alternate, more comfortable inversion in the left hand to give the same harmonic impression, even if the notes don't exactly match those on the printed score?
  • The eight-bar ground is a widely arching and patently melodic tone-row, plus a free bar, answered by its inversion.
1.3 [count noun] Music An inverted interval, chord, or phrase.
Example sentences
  • Unit 3 presents major scales, triads and inversions, and chord progressions on white-key tonics.
  • The V7 and IV chords in standard inversions are quickly introduced, and the remainder of the book generally uses the hands together with chords accompanying a single-line melody.
  • As students progress to the second CD, they will find extensive theory resources, including chord inversions and building scales of all types, even a ‘weird’ one.
1.4 Physics (also population inversion) A transposition in the relative numbers of atoms, molecules, etc. occupying particular energy levels.
Example sentences
  • This requires a population inversion of atoms that are in excited states, which is maintained by ‘pumping ‘the cavity externally.’
  • The nature of the active medium also determines how the energy to cause the population inversion is supplied.
  • Amplified spontaneous emission, which limits the maximum population inversion, determines the energy-storage capacity of a fiber.
1.5 Chemistry A reaction causing a change from one optically active configuration to the opposite configuration, especially the hydrolysis of dextrose to give a laevorotatory solution of fructose and glucose.
Example sentences
  • If the bond between these two sugars is broken, free glucose and fructose result, a reaction termed inversion.
  • However, it was later shown that inversion of the glucose carbon skeleton does not occur during plant AsA biosynthesis.
  • In its simplest form, this is a one-step polymerization reaction involving glycosyl transfer by inversion of configuration at the anomeric carbon.
2 (also temperature or thermal inversion) A reversal of the normal decrease of air temperature with altitude, or of water temperature with depth.
Example sentences
  • Precise data on vertical rainfall distribution, temperature lapse rate, and the altitude of the temperature inversion on the windward slope exist for this oceanic wet tropical mountain.
  • This wind comes to us from the industrial areas of the Ruhr, which has large amounts of pollutants trapped in under the temperature inversion.
  • A temperature inversion across the lake allowed this faraway city to be briefly visible.
2.1 (also inversion layer) A layer of the atmosphere in which temperature increases with height.
Example sentences
  • In the inversion layer, temperature increases with height, often at a rate of more than 10°C per km.
  • The winter inversion layer wrecks havoc on Greater Denver, especially places like Golden, Boulder and Jefferson County.
  • The inversion layer (the stable blanket of cool air above the cool ground) would prevent vertical mixing of the aerosol cloud, thus keeping the BW agent near the ground for inhalation.
3 [mass noun] Mathematics The process of finding a quantity, function, etc. from a given one such that the product of the two under a particular operation is the identity.
3.1The interchanging of numerator and denominator of a fraction, or antecedent and consequent of a ratio.
Example sentences
  • It could be argued that participants did not use Inversion as frequently on the Multiplication / Division inversion problems because they could solve the problems quickly and easily using retrieval.
  • We then examined solution procedures and latencies in an effort to determine whether children used inversion or other principles spontaneously as they solved these novel arithmetic problems.
  • Thus, when Multiplication / Division inversion problems are encountered, only part of the inverse relationship is easily accessible.
3.2The process of finding the expression which gives a given expression under a given transformation.
3.3 [count noun] Geometry A transformation in which each point of a given figure is replaced by another point on the same straight line from a fixed point, especially in such a way that the product of the distances of the two points from the centre of inversion is constant.
Example sentences
  • When examining symmetry in the three-dimensional world, there are four types of symmetry operations to consider: rotation, reflection, roto-reflection and inversion.
4 (also sexual inversion) Psychology , dated Homosexuality.



Pronunciation: /ɪnˈvəːsɪv/
Example sentences
  • We can perceive sharp ironies that arise from Wright's powerfully inversive imagination.
  • Proof 3 has the virtue of bringing together elements of various geometries: inversive and affine.


Mid 16th century (as a term in rhetoric, denoting the turning of an argument against the person who put it forward): from Latin inversio(n-), from the verb invertere (see invert1).

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: in|ver¦sion

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