This is a bit hard to explain so hopefully my example is clear:

She took tactics from the seduction community and __ so that they could be used in men.

The only word I could think of was reverse engineering:

reverse engineering

the reproduction of another manufacturer's product following detailed examination of its construction or composition.

Though I'm not very sure if it implies that the final product is the opposite of the original one.

  • They are probably simple words fitting your purpose, but another common way of expressing these ideas would be to use constructions with words such as "back", "against" or "own" and the initial verb of action. I.e "she used their own tactics against them" or in the expressions "back at you!" which precisely indicate that you send the same insult to the person who uttered it first or "he got a taste of his own medicine"
    – P. O.
    Dec 28, 2016 at 12:39
  • I find the idea of reverse engineering of tactics used by the "seduction" community to be highly specious. What does that even mean? Anyway, reverse engineer means to figure out how something is built in reverse: you start with an engineered product and work backwards. In engineering a product, you start from zero and work forward.
    – Lambie
    Dec 28, 2016 at 16:14

4 Answers 4


reorient (verb) Meaning: Change the focus or direction of

recast (verb) Meaning: to cast again or anew.

Note that when you recast/ reorient something, you aren't just improving it slightly — something that is recast typically involves significant changes to the original


turn something on its head

​to cause something to be the opposite of what it was before:
These new findings turn the accepted theories on their head.

(Cambridge Dictionary)

This is a nice idiom that is easy to imagine; it is a simple flipping motion that could be metaphorically replicated on anything.

She took tactics from the seduction community and turned them on their head so that they could be used in men.

  • Unless it could just possibly improved by 'turned them round', Bladorthin's clearly the most useful response so far… Jan 12, 2017 at 0:26

Some that spring to my mind are:

  • Commandeer: "officially take possession or control of (something), especially for military purposes."

  • Adapt: "(something) suitable for a new use or purpose; modify."

Although in the context you describe it's almost like you're after something like:

  • Countermeasure: "an action taken to counteract a danger or threat."

  • Antidote: "a medicine taken or given to counteract a particular poison."

I admit the last one is perhaps slightly too metaphorical.


This may be a case of reinterpreting something to suit one's purpose.

She took tactics from the seduction community and reinterpreted them so that they could be used in men.


reinterpret VERB

[WITH OBJECT] Interpret (something) in a new or different way.

‘You see governments amending their laws and reinterpreting their laws to adapt to the new situation.’

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