back·​lash | \ ˈbak-ˌlash How to pronounce backlash (audio) \

Definition of backlash

1a : a sudden violent backward movement or reaction
b : the play between adjacent movable parts (as in a series of gears) also : the jar caused by this when the parts are put into action
2 : a snarl in that part of a fishing line wound on the reel
3 : a strong adverse reaction (as to a recent political or social development)

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Other Words from backlash

backlasher noun

Examples of backlash in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The backlash was fierce and, quickly, Instagram reverted to its scrolling format. NBC News, "Some Twitter users hate Fleets. Here's why new features are usually despised.," 18 Nov. 2020 And the backlash has been swift and bipartisan, Alexei Koseff writes. Kellie Hwang,, "Bay Briefing: Restrictions tighten across the state to combat virus spread," 17 Nov. 2020 Whenever federal agencies have tried to regulate groundwater, the backlash has been swift and intense, with farm states’ congressional representatives repudiating federal jurisdiction over groundwater. Burke Griggs, The Conversation, "Farmers are depleting the Ogallala Aquifer because the government pays them to do it," 9 Nov. 2020 Trump’s law and order message is loaded with racist undertones: The backlash against the Black Lives Matter movement is clear in President Trump’s messages playing up racial fears, one UConn professor says., "Election 2020: From coronavirus to the police accountability bill, what to know about the issues before voting in Connecticut," 26 Oct. 2020 The backlash to Knight's comments was almost immediate, with some in the rank-and-file taking to social media to vent their frustrations about a term that was unnecessarily divisive. Libor Jany, Star Tribune, "Top Minneapolis police official demoted over 'white boys' comment," 20 Oct. 2020 But the backlash to this particular language was swift and fierce, even within his own party. Travis M. Andrews, Washington Post, "The dispatches that define the Trump presidency," 14 Oct. 2020 When the United States demanded in early August that TikTok be sold to American owners by this weekend, the backlash was vocal, loud, and widespread. Ganesh Sitaraman, Wired, "The Progressive Case for a TikTok Sale," 18 Sep. 2020 However, the backlash against commissioner Kevin Warren and Big Ten presidents and chancellors was immediate and strong. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "Big Ten football reinstated; 8-game season to begin Oct. 24," 16 Sep. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'backlash.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of backlash

1815, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Time Traveler for backlash

Time Traveler

The first known use of backlash was in 1815

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Statistics for backlash

Last Updated

2 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Backlash.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Dec. 2020.

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More Definitions for backlash


How to pronounce backlash (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of backlash

: a strong public reaction against something

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