AskDefine | Define reversion

Dictionary Definition



1 (law) an interest in an estate that reverts to the grantor (or his heirs) at the end of some period (e.g., the death of the grantee)
2 a return to a normal phenotype (usually resulting from a second mutation)
3 a reappearance of an earlier characteristic [syn: atavism, throwback]
4 turning in the opposite direction [syn: reverse, reversal, turnabout, turnaround]
5 returning to a former state [syn: regression, regress, retrogression, retroversion]
6 a failure to maintain a higher state [syn: backsliding, lapse, lapsing, relapse, relapsing, reverting]

User Contributed Dictionary



From reversion (modern réversion), from reversio, from revertere.



  1. The action of reverting something.
  2. The action of returning to a former condition or practice; reversal.
  3. The fact of being turned the reverse way.
  4. The action of turning something the reverse way.
  5. The return of an estate to the donor or grantor after expiry of the grant.
  6. An estate which has been returned in this manner.
  7. The right of succeeding to an estate, or to another possession.
  8. The right of succeeding to an office after the death or retirement of the holder.
  9. The return of a genetic characteristic after a period of suppression.
  10. A sum payable on a person's death.


the return of an estate

Extensive Definition


In law, a reversion is an agreement such that one party (grantee) is given a possessory interest in a property from another (grantor) under the understanding that the interest will "revert" to the grantor at the expiration of the grantee's interest (e.g. grantee's death, expiration of a term of years, etc.).
A common form of a reversion is for one person to allow another to possess a house until their death, upon which time it reverts to the grantor. This may be represented by the language "To A for life," with the reversionary interest assumed.
Reversions themselves can be thought of as a form of derivative in which the underlying asset is a piece of property rather than a more usual financial instrument. Reversions can thus themselves be bought and sold.

Real Estate Appraisal

In real estate appraisal a reversion is a lump-sum benefit an investor receives or expects to receive upon the termination of an investment; also called reversionary benefit. A reversion can be used in real estate valuation by valuing the last projected cash flow as a perpetuity using a reversion cap rate.


In evolution, reversion is the return of a character to one of its previous ancestral state. Reversion are quite commonly observed within DNA. The existence of reversion refutes Dollo's law a 19th century theory that evolution cannot return to a prior form of an organism.

Software and content development

Reversion or reverting is the return to a previous instantiation of a piece of software, saved database state, web page, wiki article, or other piece or set of digital content or data.


In mathematical analysis, given a power series for a function f, reversion of that series amounts to finding the "inverse" power series, that is, the power series of the inverse function f\,^.

Television production

In television production, the word may refer to the process of reversioning (or re-versioning, thus re-version): the relatively recent phenomenon of recycling pre-existing productions, even entire series, into "new" shows. Completed TV shows that have already aired are re-edited or supplied with new voice-over, graphics or music, and then aired with a new title, often for a new audience. Sometimes the changes are relatively minor, as in the case of Prehistoric Planet, which was made from the original series Walking with Dinosaurs.
An example of a reversioned film is Woody Allen's What's Up, Tiger Lily?, in which the director wrote new English dialogue for the Japanese film International Secret Police: Key of Keys for comic effect.


When a person converts to Islam some Muslims consider it as reversion, because they believe that Islam is the original Abrahamic religion. But the usage of the word reversion is disputed by many non-muslims.

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

about-face, about-turn, atavism, back track, back trail, backing, backing off, backing out, backing up, backset, backsliding, backup, backward deviation, bequeathal, bequest, birthright, borough-English, coheirship, coparcenary, copyhold, devolution, ectropion, entail, equitable estate, estate at sufferance, estate for life, estate for years, estate in expectancy, estate in fee, estate in possession, estate tail, eversion, falling back, fee, fee simple, fee tail, feod, feodum, feud, feudal estate, fief, gavelkind, heirloom, heirship, hereditament, heritable, heritage, heritance, improvement, incorporeal hereditament, inheritance, instauration, introversion, intussusception, invagination, inversion, lapse, law of succession, lease, leasehold, legacy, legal estate, line of succession, mode of succession, paramount estate, particular estate, patrimony, postremogeniture, primogeniture, pronation, reactivation, reconstitution, reconversion, recrudescence, recurrence, redintegration, reenactment, reestablishment, reformation, regression, rehabilitation, reinstatement, reinstation, reinstitution, reinvestiture, reinvestment, relapse, remainder, renewal, replacement, restitution, restoration, resupination, retroflexion, retroversion, return, reversal, reverse, reversing, revulsion, right-about, right-about-face, setback, shifting trust, shifting use, succession, supination, swingaround, throwback, topsy-turviness, topsy-turvydom, transposal, transposition, turn, turnabout, turnaround, turning back, turning backwards, turning inside out, turning inward, turning over, ultimogeniture, vested estate, volte-face
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