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

For President Moon the decisions represent a dilemma: intervene to block the court decisions and risk a constitutional crisis as well as a popular backlash, or deal with the diplomatic fallout with Japan. Alastair Gale, WSJ, "Forced-Labor Dispute Strains Japan-South Korea Relations," 12 Jan. 2019 The tone-deaf comment instantly sparked backlash, and stars like P!nk, Katy Perry, and Halsey publicly denounced Portnow's statement. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Women Are Dominating the Grammys' Biggest Categories," 7 Dec. 2018 This type of violence is not new but resembles other periods in American history when Black Americans in particular would press for racial equality and voting rights only to be met by intense, violent backlash from whites. Bree Newsome, SELF, "The 2018 Midterm Elections Proved That Change Must Happen from the Ground Up," 15 Nov. 2018 The snub drew community backlash, and Durkan soon announced McLay had withdrawn from consideration and Best was back in the running. Heidi Groover, The Seattle Times, "Former Pittsburgh police chief, once a finalist for Seattle job, has been hired by the city as an adviser," 19 Oct. 2018 Public backlash: Anthem backs off plan to pave over Downtown Indianapolis green space for executive parking Anthem’s decision caught the hospital off guard. Shari Rudavsky, Indianapolis Star, "Hendricks Regional Health disputes Anthem's payment rates at new Brownsburg hospital," 11 July 2018 Because of the incredible public backlash, attempts to roll back the act failed. Stephanie Glover, STAT, "We need another July 4 uprising to protect women’s health," 6 July 2018 Pocan, who co-chairs the House Progressive Caucus, recently sat down with NBC News to discuss his vision for the movement, the Republican backlash, and the role of immigration enforcement in a post-ICE world. NBC News, "This congressman wants to 'abolish ICE.' We asked him how it would work.," 30 June 2018 The proposal ultimately died following community backlash, Carranza's abrupt departure in March and concerns that the plan had not been fully vetted. Jacob Carpenter, Houston Chronicle, "Houston ISD trustees unanimously approve $2B budget on second try," 25 June 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

15 Jan 2019

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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More from Merriam-Webster on backlash

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with backlash

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for backlash

Spanish Central: Translation of backlash

Nglish: Translation of backlash for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of backlash for Arabic Speakers

Comments on backlash

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tremendous in size, volume, or degree

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