back·​lash ˈbak-ˌlash How to pronounce backlash (audio)
: a sudden violent backward movement or reaction
: 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
: a snarl in that part of a fishing line wound on the reel
: a strong adverse reaction (as to a recent political or social development)
backlasher noun

Examples of backlash in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The backlash began last week when Drew Barrymore announced that The Drew Barrymore Show would begin filming its new season despite the strike. Julia Moore, Peoplemag, 17 Sep. 2023 Female rock legends not ‘articulate’ enough for Rolling Stone co-founder Wenner’s remarks drew immediate backlash online and beyond. Lyric Li, Washington Post, 17 Sep. 2023 The 48-year-old actor sparked major backlash earlier this month after announcing that her talk show would resume production amid ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes for fair wages and workplace improvements in Hollywood. Emily Tannenbaum, Glamour, 17 Sep. 2023 Barrymore is not just facing backlash from her writing staff. Tori Otten, The New Republic, 15 Sep. 2023 In 2020, Sia faced backlash for casting Ziegler, who is not autistic, as a nonverbal autistic teen in the film. Jonah Valdez, Los Angeles Times, 15 Sep. 2023 That sparked a backlash that has not yet cooled down. Bychris Morris, Fortune, 15 Sep. 2023 The prospect of a future where every outing requires you to tack on a little extra change is also fueling a backlash. Josh Zumbrun, WSJ, 15 Sep. 2023 None of this is to say that the response to Barrymore has been overheated or that other hosts should now be subject to the same level of online backlash. Josef Adalian, Vulture, 14 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'backlash.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1815, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of backlash was in 1815

Dictionary Entries Near backlash

Cite this Entry

“Backlash.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


back·​lash ˈbak-ˌlash How to pronounce backlash (audio)
: a reaction against some political or social development
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!