What does Revert Mean? (+Usage)

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word ‘revert’ is a verb meaning ‘return to’. The word originated around 1250 and is an old middle English word. In Indian English, however, the word revert is used to mean ‘to reply’.

Continue reading to learn more about the history of the word revert, and some examples of how to use it properly in a sentence.

History of The Word Revert

While the exact origin of the word is unclear, the widely accepted origin of the word revert is attributed to Middle English between 1250 and 1300. The word, meaning ‘return to’ is often used when describing something that returns to the previous state.

Non-Native English Language Usage

As mentioned, the word revert in Indian and South Asia countries also means ‘to reply’. There has been pushback on this usage by traditionally English-speaking locations saying that using ‘revert’ to mean ‘reply’ is wrong. Given the widespread use of revert in various Anglophone countries, where it is frequently used in formal letter writing, it would be dishonest to dismiss the “respond” interpretation as merely incorrect.

Paul Brians, a professor of English at Washington State University, previously cataloged revert in his online “Common Errors in English Usage” compendium. Brians recently changed the entry to reflect its prominence in South Asia, while still recommending that “it is advisable to stay with ‘reply’ when interacting with non-South Asian colleagues.”

Examples of Revert

The word revert can be used to describe many different situations in which you may find yourself wanting to return. Though it is most often written in formal content, it can also be used casually. Here are some examples of how to properly use the word ‘revert’ in English.

  • The dog has reverted to the ways of his ancestors.
  • Kindly revert with your resume to be considered for the position.
  • A toddler is more like to revert to thumb-sucking when their pacifier is removed.
  • After the emergency, the politicians reverted to their traditional arguing.

Other Forms of Revert

The word revert has several other forms that can be used including revertible, revertability, and revertive. Examples of how to use these forms of revert are:

  • The assignment of the land is revertible after the death of the tenant.
  • There is a revertability clause in the contract if the lease is broken.
  • The house is now revertive because the lease was broken.