back·​ped·​al | \ ˈbak-ˌpe-dᵊl How to pronounce backpedal (audio) \
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 Now Libra is backpedaling to say that anyone who wants to verify transactions on the network will need to gain certain approvals. Kurt Wagner, Fortune, "Facebook-backed Libra plans multiple single-currency coins," 16 Apr. 2020 However, the ink was barely dry on the law before the Supreme Court backpedaled on applying it. New York Times, "Charlottesville Lawsuit Puts Rising Intolerance on Trial," 28 Oct. 2019 The California Republican Party accused Newsom of backpedaling. Amy Taxin And Adam Beam, USA TODAY, "'No rational basis for this action': California governor’s beach closure order amid coronavirus sparks anger," 1 May 2020 Daniels backpedaled, trying to buy himself some time. Tim Rohan,, "As Uncertainty Shrouds USC, the Trojans Are Weathering the Storm—For Now," 27 Sep. 2019 Just three weeks later, Spotify backpedaled, returning XXXTentacion’s music to its playlists (though R. Kelly seemed to remain off of them). Harley Brown, Billboard, "Spotify's Biggest Hits In Its First Year As a Public Company," 3 Apr. 2019 Later that evening, officials backpedaled, saying his case needs more review by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CNN, "Questions arise after teen's death was initially linked to coronavirus in California," 26 Mar. 2020 Some amongst the player leadership ranks also worried that the owners could backpedal on some of their concessions, weakening the CBA. Mike Jones, USA TODAY, "Opinion: New NFL CBA isn't perfect, but players ensured victories for all," 15 Mar. 2020 James backpedaled and looked toward his team’s bench with his tongue hanging out, Williamson trailing close behind. Los Angeles Times, "LeBron James and Lakers teach Zion Williamson some lessons in win over Pelicans," 1 Mar. 2020

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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Time Traveler for backpedal

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The first known use of backpedal was in 1896

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Statistics for backpedal

Last Updated

1 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Backpedal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jul. 2020.

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How to pronounce backpedal (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of backpedal

: to move backward with quick steps

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with backpedal

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