back·​ped·​al ˈbak-ˌpe-dᵊl How to pronounce backpedal (audio)
backpedaled; backpedaling; backpedals

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 To be sure, some firms have backpedaled on plans to expand in the city. Alexandre Rajbhandari, Fortune Europe, 14 May 2024 But Dameron said his superiors are now backpedaling. Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times, 13 May 2024 The Pelicans were taking advantage of a Warriors team often backpedaling on defense, as turnovers prevented them from getting set. Danny Emerman, The Mercury News, 13 Apr. 2024 The statements, while made in reaction to a shocking court decision that will reverberate for months if not years, were dismissed by Democrats as GOP backpedaling. Stacey Barchenger, The Arizona Republic, 10 Apr. 2024 But past skeptics be damned, the album has stood the test of time, with many now backpedaling their initial criticisms to revel in her unabashed outbursts of rage and ecstasy and its thematic anchor of tender love and care. Allaire Nuss,, 6 Feb. 2024 But many firms backpedal in 2023, and the Supreme Court for the first time rules that preferences based on race in college admissions are unconstitutional. Emma Kumer, Washington Post, 9 Mar. 2024 Census Bureau backpedaled on changes to disabilities questions. USA TODAY, 8 Feb. 2024 Purdy, whose arm strength contributed to his seventh-round draft standing, actually overthrew Aiyuk only to have the ball bounce off the facemask of a backpedaling Kindle Vildor. Jerry McDonald, The Mercury News, 29 Jan. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'backpedal.' 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

1896, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of backpedal was in 1896

Dictionary Entries Near backpedal

Cite this Entry

“Backpedal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2024.

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