back·ped·al | \ˈbak-ˌpe-dᵊl \
backpedaled; backpedaling; backpedals

Definition of backpedal 

intransitive verb

: to retreat or move backward

Examples of backpedal in a Sentence

The outfielder backpedaled a few steps to catch the fly ball.

Recent Examples on the Web

Correa went through agility drills and calisthenic exercises — moving laterally, starting and stopping and backpedaling — for about 10 minutes before retreating into the clubhouse. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Astros' Carlos Correa headed to DL with back stiffness," 28 June 2018 The cornerback does 15 minutes of dynamic warmups—moving around, backpedaling and accelerating out of breaks. Jonathan Jones,, "24 Hours ... At the NFL Scouting Combine," 8 Mar. 2018 But this is based almost entirely on animal studies, and the agency has backpedaled in recent years. New York Times, "California, Coffee and Cancer: One of These Doesn’t Belong," 23 Apr. 2018 But last week she was forced to backpedal after using a vulgar four-letter word to refer to Ivanka Trump; the incident has been at the center of countless debates and think pieces. Andrew R. Chow, New York Times, "What’s on TV Wednesday: ‘The Fosters’ and ‘Full Frontal With Samantha Bee’," 6 June 2018 The company had to backpedal some on its bathroom policy after customers complained that stores could attract homeless people and drug use. Joshua Fechter, San Antonio Express-News, "Starbucks grapples with racial bias as it closes 8,000 U.S. stores for training," 29 May 2018 But according to Kaminer, who leaked the memo and penned the blistering op-ed about its contents, the ACLU was trying to get away with secretly backpedaling on its founding principles. Gregg Re, Fox News, "Leaked anti-gun memo suggests ACLU hesitant to defend free speech if it hurts 'marginalized communities'," 21 June 2018 Trump briefly strayed from gun-rights dogma after the Parkland shooting, but quickly backpedaled. NBC News, "Trump meets with families affected by Texas shooting, mother calls him 'toddler'," 1 June 2018 The separation policy has been so universally unpopular that President Trump backpedaled and signed executive order to stop the separations. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "Wildfang's "I Really Care" Jackets and T-shirts Give The Finger to Melania Trump," 22 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'backpedal.' 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 backpedal

1896, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for backpedal

Last Updated

20 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for backpedal

The first known use of backpedal was in 1896

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English Language Learners Definition of backpedal

: to move backward with quick steps

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