Reverse Versus Obverse


Quick Summary

The Latin root word vers means “turned.” This root gives rise to many English vocabulary words, including reverse, version, and conversation. Perhaps the easiest way to remember this root word is through the English word anniversary, a calendrical marker that yet another year has “turned.”

The Latin root word vers means ‘turned.’

Most people are not averse to, or “turned” away from, driving cars. Conversely, that is, thoroughly “turned” towards the opposite opinion, most people love cars. Always having a car almost seems irreversible these days—one cannot ever be “turned” back from owning one, at least if you need to get to work.

We all know that the reverse side of a coin is the side that’s “turned” back from the viewer. But what’s the front side of the coin called? It’s the obverse, or the side “turned” towards you, that is, the “heads” side.

So what does the Universe have to do with being “turned”? It is simply all of perceptible creation “turned” into one entirety. And a university? It is a place that has been “turned” into one area of learning for both undergraduate and graduate degrees.

An adversary is someone who is “turned” against you. So, when we see Manchester United versus Chelsea on Fox, we know that those two teams are “turned” against each other in a soccer match.

A couple’s anniversary marks that yet another year has “turned” since they’ve been married. Hopefully on anniversary days there will be plenty of loving conversation, being “turned” with another person while speaking. Perhaps there will even be some love poetry read, containing emotional verses, a “turning” or moving from one line of poetry to the next. Of course, the couple who has become divorced (vorc is a variant of vers), or “turned” apart from one another, perhaps celebrates that anniversary as well!

I hope that the diverse examples and different versions, or ‘turnings,’ that I’ve given help you remember that vers means “turned,” aiding and abetting your success at a university and beyond!

  1. averse: ‘turned’ away
  2. converse: thoroughly ‘turned’
  3. irreversible: not able to be ‘turned’ back
  4. reverse: ‘turned’ back
  5. obverse: ‘turned’ towards
  6. Universe: everything ‘turned’ into one whole thing
  7. adversary: one ‘turned’ against you
  8. versus: ‘turned’ against
  9. anniversary: another year ‘turned’
  10. conversation: ‘turned’ with another while speaking
  11. verse: ‘turn’ of poetry
  12. divorce: having ‘turned’ apart from a spouse
  13. diverse: ‘turned’ apart
  14. version: a ‘turning’

Differentiated vocabulary for your students is just a click away.