Definition of reversal in English:

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Pronunciation: /rɪˈvəːs(ə)l/


1A change to an opposite direction, position, or course of action: a dramatic reversal in population decline in the Alps [mass noun]: the reversal of tidal currents
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  • The data therefore chronicle a dramatic reversal in the direction of invasion.
  • Clearly, such a reversal of the current course would not be achievable overnight.
  • The mayor's comments marked a reversal of his previous position on the issue.
1.1 Law An annulment of a judgement, sentence, or decree made by a lower court or authority: a reversal by the House of Lords of the Court of Appeal’s decision
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  • All they can achieve, they assume, is the preservation of a clean trial record for appeal, and the reversal of the trial court ruling.
  • After three trials on separate charges arising out of the original events, resulting in three guilty verdicts, three appeals court reversals, and one acquittal, Cortez was finally convicted of murder.
  • The reversal in the Supreme Court turned on the application of s.2 of the Charter.
1.2An adverse change of fortune: the champions suffered a League reversal at Gloucester last month
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  • Last night O'Sullivan suffered a similar reversal, just as he had done in the 1997 final against Steve Davis.
  • Tony Blair and Mr Brown had made clear beforehand they would not implement the review but the reversals were the first suffered by the Labour leadership at the conference since a revolt over pensions two years ago.
  • But the party suffered serious reversals Feb. 25, when it lost all of four state-level elections.
setback, reverse, upset, check, non-success, failure, misfortune, mishap, misadventure, accident, disaster, tragedy, catastrophe, blow, disappointment, adversity, hardship, affliction, vicissitude, defeat, rout;
British informal car crash
2 [mass noun] Photography Direct production of a positive image from an exposed film or plate; direct reproduction of a positive or negative image: [as modifier]: a black-and-white reversal kit
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  • Liam states that pinholes do not occur with reversal processing of lith film, but we included a water bath anyway since it doesn't take long.
  • This was a ‘five lights’ production filmed on 16 mm reversal stock because they couldn't afford better.
  • Since super-8 film is reversal stock like slide film, I had never thought a super-8 negative could exist.


Late 15th century (as a legal term): from reverse + -al.

Words that rhyme with reversal

disbursal, dispersal, Purcell, rehearsal, succursal, tercel, transversal, traversal, universal
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