Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary
1

backward

play
adverb back·ward \ˈbak-wərd\

Simple Definition of backward

  • : toward the back : to or toward what is behind

  • : opposite to the usual way : in reverse

  • : toward the past

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of backward

  1. 1 a :  toward the back b :  with the back foremost

  2. 2 a :  in a reverse or contrary direction or way b :  toward the past c :  toward a worse state

bend over backward or lean over backward
  1. :  to make extreme efforts (as at concession)

Examples of backward in a sentence

  1. a sudden movement backward, not forward

  2. I heard a noise behind me and glanced backward.

  3. He pushed the throttle backward.

  4. She took a small step backward.

  5. a journey backward in time

  6. The narrative moves backward and forward in time.



14th Century

First Known Use of backward

14th century

Variants of backward

or backwards play \-wərdz\

2

backward

adjective back·ward

Simple Definition of backward

  • : directed or turned toward the back

  • : done backward

  • : behind others : not as advanced as others in learning or development

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of backward

  1. 1 a :  directed or turned backward b :  done or executed backward

  2. 2 :  diffident, shy

  3. 3 :  retarded in development

backwardly adverb
backwardness noun

Examples of backward in a sentence

  1. a technologically backward village that has no running water

  2. <a backward turn on ice skates is hard to learn because you can't see where you're going>



14th Century

First Known Use of backward

14th century


3

backward

noun back·ward

Definition of backward

  1. :  the part behind or past



1610

First Known Use of backward

1610



BACKWARD Defined for Kids

1

backward

play
adverb back·ward \ˈbak-wərd\

Definition of backward for Students

  1. 1 :  toward the back <look backward>

  2. 2 :  with the back first <ride backward>

  3. 3 :  opposite to the usual way <count backward>



Variants of backward

or back·wards \-wərdz\

2

backward

play
adjective back·ward

Definition of backward for Students

  1. 1 :  turned toward the back <He wears a backward baseball cap.>

  2. 2 :  done backward <a backward flip>

  3. 3 :  not as advanced in learning and development as others <Perhaps the strange language made him appear more backward than he really was … — Robert Louis Stevenson, Kidnapped>





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up backward? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to defraud especially of money

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image567572573

Which of these is a synonym of unctuous?

angry prompt oily maudlin
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ