reverse-engineer

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English[edit]

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Verb[edit]

reverse-engineer (third-person singular simple present reverse-engineers, present participle reverse-engineering, simple past and past participle reverse-engineered)

  1. To derive or duplicate the design, technical specifications, manufacturing methods, or functionality of an object by studying an existing product, prototype, etc.
    • 1997, Roy A. Sorensen, "The Metaphysics of Precision and Scientific Language," Noûs, vol. 31, Supplement: Philosophical Perspectives, 11, p. 363,
      Each creature was viewed as the artifact of a divine blueprint. The role of the biologist was to reverse engineer God's handiwork.
    • 2002, P. Samuelson and S. Scotchmer, "The Law and Economics of Reverse Engineering," The Yale Law Journal, vol. 111, no. 7, p. 1584,
      In theory, there should be no need to reverse-engineer a patented invention to get information about how to make it because the patent specification should inform the relevant technical community of how to make the invention.

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Noun[edit]

reverse-engineer (plural reverse-engineers)

  1. A person whose job is to reverse-engineer products.
    • 1998, M. Lemley and D. McGowan, "Legal Implications of Network Economic Effects," California Law Journal, vol. 86, no. 3, p. 524,
      A reverse-engineer can in theory do a variety of things with the information she obtains.

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