I'm trying to find a word or phrase for the picture we get when we put everything that is on the right side to the left and every thing that is placed on the left side to the right, while preserving the order in the opposite manner. I mean if we have: pen, pencil, ruler, needle; after reordering we have: needle, ruler, pencil, pen. Or if you have an image, it must be transformed into what you see in the mirror. Or if you have a kettle with its handle on the left side; now after the transformation the handle is on the right side (and actually with reversed image).

By searching the internet I found the words and phrases: Reversed output, mirror output, mirror reflection of the output, reversed output, mirror reversed output. (One more question in parenthesis: Do we have mirrorly reflected output? Are we able to add -ly to mirror to use it as an adverb at all?)

What is the correct and appropriate word for it? I know that if it was just about a string of characters I could use reversed output. But now I have two dimensional objects (like matrices).

As for its part of speech, I want to use the word/phrase as an object, not a verb.


5 Answers 5


Are you looking for "mirror image" ?

mirror image (noun)

  • "something that has its parts reversely arranged in comparison with another similar thing or that is reversed with reference to an intervening axis or plane" MW
  • "something that looks exactly the same as another thing but with its left and right sides in opposite positions" Cambridge
  • "A mirror image (in a plane mirror) is a reflected duplication of an object that appears almost identical, but is reversed in the direction perpendicular to the mirror surface. As an optical effect it results from reflection off of substances such as a mirror or water. It is also a concept in geometry and can be used as a conceptualization process for 3-D structures." from Wikipedia

Addendum: As for the mirror image of letters, any letter, symmetrical or asymmetrical, has its own mirror image. Symmetrical letters, such as W, M, O, H or T, will produce a mirror image identical to their real image. Asymmetric letters will have their mirror image horizontally inverted, just like a kettle or a teapot. I just can't type here that -------- is the mirror image or "LEFT" because there are no mirror-image keys for L, E and F on the keyboard.

  • Thanks. But how can I use it for example for kettles? The kettle 1 is the mirror of kettle 2?
    – m123
    Commented Sep 16, 2020 at 20:42
  • @m123 Exactly. MW is the mirror image of WM;
    – Centaurus
    Commented Sep 16, 2020 at 21:50
  • When I read your WM example, I hadn't thought about LPH's point of view.By MW example, I misunderstood that the mirror image can be used for any word with reversed order of the letters,while based on LPH's deduction the reason that we are able to use it for the relation of MW and WM is their special symmetric shape of individual characters. I guess your answer would be more informative for future visitor of this page if you add some explanation to eliminate the mistakes like mine. Thank you and @LPH for sharing good and useful information.
    – m123
    Commented Sep 18, 2020 at 15:32
  • @m123 There it is.
    – Centaurus
    Commented Sep 19, 2020 at 1:46

All the terms you collected are not used equally; in fact you find only "mirror output" and "reversed output" (ref.) in any significant number. You can see that "mirror output" has recently come to be the preferred term.

There is also the traditional term "mirror image" and here is how it compares with the other two: ref..
This term has two meanings, a scientific one which can be described by mathemetical transformations"— it has been used in science this way to the present day—, and the meaning of spitting image. It is possibly because of this latter meaning that some new terms appeared.

Apparently, "mirrorly reflected output" is not in use. "-Ly" is a suffix used with nouns so as to produce adjectives but it is not a freely productive suffix.

Anyway, scientifically speaking, if you use this term (mirror image) for the sequential order reversal, in particular for sequences of symbols or groups of symbols, you are likely to use this term as somewhat of a misnommer: the mirror image of "NO" isn not "ON" but "OИ".
Whereas you expect to read normally your reversed sequence normally, a true mirror image will not give you this possibility in many cases. See for instance what the use of this term means in the domain of the development of the program "Word" (mirror image with Word).
I know of no other term you might use with "mirror" in the way of expressing the precise concepts I considered or those you mention. I can't find precise information on the terms you provide and so I don't even know whether they are proper terms for your purpose. However, a standard term from everyday language seems to correspond perfectly to what you need; this is "reverse order" (Merriam-Webster).

  • Thanks. But could you please make a sentence with "door" or "kettle" for me? For example, door1 is the mirror of door2?(Whit the meaning of the place of their handle is opposite. I mean, door 1 openes from left to right and door 2 opens from right to left)
    – m123
    Commented Sep 16, 2020 at 21:08
  • @m123 The mirror image of a kettle held to a mirror with the right hand ang pouring to the left is a kettle held with the left hand and pouring to the right. Notice that this is true only for elements showing no back to front symetrie, the reversal of the kettle being apparent (no right and left for a kettle) and that the kettle shows this peculiar transformation only in reference to the person holding it because there is no back to front symetry in humans (there is a right and a left for humans); remove the person and the kettle is still pouring to the left in the mirror.
    – LPH
    Commented Sep 16, 2020 at 22:08
  • My main question here is can we use it only with the "image" of anything? Not with the objects? Do we always have "mirror image" as collocations? Can't we use "mirror"+ any other noun?
    – m123
    Commented Sep 17, 2020 at 8:26
  • My main question here is can we use it only with the image of anything? Not with the objects? Do we always have "mirror image" as collocations? Can't we use "mirror"+ any other noun?
    – m123
    Commented Sep 17, 2020 at 8:26
  • 1
    @m123 You can't say that object A is the mirror of object B because a mirror is an object that reflects, not an object that is the opposite of another in terms of handedness. It does not make sense to say "my left glove is the mirror of my right glove" because a glove is not a mirror but you can say "my left glove is the mirror image of my right glove". Strictly speaking it isn't as the left glove is real and not an image but it is a standard metaphor.
    – BoldBen
    Commented Dec 16, 2022 at 10:24

Scientists might use the term enantiomorphism. Incidentally, there is another basic type of symmetry: "Point Symmetry is when every part has a matching part the same distance from the central point, but in the opposite direction." Off hand, I have no idea what to call the process, etc, of reflecting two or more things, in this latter manner.

Noun 1. enantiomorphism - the relation of opposition between crystals or molecules that are reflections of one another


Try the term “Specular” out.

What is an example of specular? Overall, specular reflection is when parallel rays of light interact with a surface that is flat and therefore have the same angle of incident, and reflect at the same angle as parallel rays again. The best example of specular reflection is the reflection seen in a mirror.


characterized by chiasmus; having or denoting a structure in which words are repeated in reverse order.
"a chiastic structure commonly found in Greek literature"

  • Where did you copy this definition from? Commented Nov 17, 2023 at 19:30

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.