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Reverse vs. Revert: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Published on November 9, 2023
Reverse means to change something to its opposite direction or state, while revert means to return to a previous condition or practice.

Key Differences

Reverse often implies a complete turnaround, like reversing the direction of a car or reversing a decision. It suggests a movement or change to the opposite of the current state.
Revert, in contrast, signifies going back to a previous state or condition. It's about returning to something that was, like reverting to old habits or a previous version of a software.
When you reverse something, you're typically changing its direction, position, or order. It's like reversing the flow of a river or reversing the sequence of numbers.
Reverting, however, implies a regression or return. When a system reverts to its default settings, it's returning to its original configuration, not just changing it.
In essence, reverse is about opposites and change, while revert is about going back to an earlier state. One speaks of change, the other of return.

Comparison Chart


Change to opposite direction/state
Return to a previous condition


Turnaround, change
Regression, going back

Usage Context

Direction, decisions, order
Habits, practices, configurations


Often a new state
Often an original or prior state


"Reverse the car"
"Revert to factory settings"

Reverse and Revert Definitions


Change to opposite.
Reverse the direction.


Return to previous state.
Revert to default settings.


Undo or negate.
Reverse a decision.


Return to a prior version.
Revert to an earlier draft.


Change order.
Reverse the sequence.


Resume original condition.
Revert to factory settings.


Opposite side.
The reverse of the coin.


Go back to old ways.
Revert to old habits.


Turn around.
Reverse the car.


Relapse into previous behavior.
Revert to old patterns.


Turned backward in position, direction, or order
The reverse side of the poster.


To go back to a former condition, practice, subject, or belief
A meadow reverting to forest.
A reformed shoplifter reverting to old habits.
A speaker reverting to her opening remarks.


Moving, acting, or organized in a manner contrary to the usual
In reverse order.


To resume using something that has been disused
Had to revert to the typewriter when the computer failed.


(Law) To be returned to the former owner or to the former owner's heirs. Used of money or property.


Is "reverse" used in technology?

Yes, like reversing an algorithm.

Can "reverse" mean to cancel?

Yes, like reversing a decision.

Does "reverse" imply movement?

Often, like reversing a car.

Can "revert" happen in nature?

Yes, like reverting to wild form.

Can "reverse" apply to trends?

Yes, like a reverse in fashion.

Is "revert" always voluntary?

Not always; it can be automatic.

Do "revert" and "regress" overlap?

Sometimes, in meaning return.

Does "revert" imply nostalgia?

Sometimes, in returning to past.

Can "reverse" mean opposite side?

Yes, like the reverse of a coin.

Is "reverse" used in engineering?

Yes, like reversing a mechanism.

Is "revert" used in computing?

Yes, like reverting to a backup.

Does "reverse" apply to health?

Yes, like reversing symptoms.

Does "revert" imply failure?

Not necessarily, context matters.

Is "reverse" used in games?

Yes, like reversing a play.

Can "revert" be used in law?

Yes, like reverting rights.

Is "revert" used in biology?

Yes, like reverting to a phenotype.

Can "reverse" be a noun?

Yes, as in the reverse side.

Can "revert" indicate improvement?

Rarely; it's usually about return.

Can "revert" mean to decline?

It can imply a regression.

Does "reverse" imply a full 180° turn?

Often, but not exclusively.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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