back·​lash | \ˈbak-ˌlash \

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

When the project was announced on July 2, there was an immediate online backlash against the movie that cast Johansson, a cisgender woman, to play a transgender man. Mia Galuppo, The Hollywood Reporter, "Scarlett Johansson Drops Out of 'Rub & Tug' Trans Film Following Backlash," 13 July 2018 There was some serious backlash against the Pill in 1970, based on concerns about safety and serious side effects, like embolisms and heart attacks. Carolyn Todd, Allure, "The History and Evolution of Birth Control in America," 12 July 2018 The law went into effect in August 2016 and was immediately met with stiff backlash on campuses, particularly at UT-Austin. Matthew Choi, star-telegram, "Guns chill free speech, UT Austin professors will argue at federal appeals court," 11 July 2018 Business Insider reports that a backlash to the Costco menu changes has begun: Fans have been expressing their displeasure on social media, and a petition was gathering signatures to bring the dogs back. Maura Judkis,, "Costco is taking Polish hot dogs off its food-court menu. People are angry," 10 July 2018 Leo, then in the White House, supported the nominee, but other Federalist Society members were prominent in a conservative backlash. Bob Egelko,, "Trump has ‘outsourced’ his Supreme Court picks to this conservative group," 8 July 2018 Government use of Google's similar machine learning services caused a backlash from more than 4,000 Google employees. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "Microsoft staff call on company to end ICE contract," 20 June 2018 In the final episode of season 2, Tyler is violently raped and the controversial scene has caused backlash from many who think the show went too far. Kristin Koch, Seventeen, ""13 Reasons Why" Showrunner Responds to Backlash Over Season 2’s Graphic Rape Scene," 22 May 2018 And the policy has caused a backlash in Hong Kong, whose identity is embedded in the Cantonese language. The Christian Science Monitor, "The soft power of openness to other languages," 17 May 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near backlash

back judge





back line


Statistics for backlash

Last Updated

5 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for backlash

The first known use of backlash was in 1815

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More Definitions for backlash



English Language Learners Definition of backlash

: a strong public reaction against something

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Comments on backlash

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full of whispering sounds

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