Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for October 18, 2020 is:

obverse • AHB-verss  • noun

1 : the side of a coin or currency note bearing the chief device and lettering; broadly : a front or principal surface

2 : a counterpart having the opposite orientation or force; also : opposite

3 : a proposition inferred immediately from another by denying the opposite of what the given proposition affirms


The artist of the medal designed an obverse graced with a profile portrait and a reverse adorned with a pictorial scene.

“The coins have always had a version of a portrait of George Washington featured on the obverse or the ‘heads’ side and like in 2020, they have minted five different designs on the coin’s reverse or tails side….” — Laura Tennant, The Reno (Nevada) Gazette-Journal, 22 July 2020

Did you know?

Heads or tails? If you called heads, obverse is the word for you. Since the 17th century, we’ve been using obverse for the front side of coins (usually the side depicting the head or bust of a prominent person). The opposite of this sense of obverse is reverse, the back or tails side of a coin. Since the 19th century, obverse has referred to an opposing counterpart or an opposite. Additionally, it can be an adjective meaning “facing the observer or opponent” or “being a counterpart or complement.”

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