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 Paris Saint-Germain remain the Ligue 1 favorites for now, but manager Thomas Tuchel is already backpedaling after just two matches this season. Pat Brennan,, "FC Cincinnati: Issue No. 4 of The Touchline Newsletter," 22 Aug. 2019 And do not crack a smile as your sister-in-law wearily tries to backpedal. Judith Martin, Washington Post, "Miss Manners: Try taking mean-spirited ‘joke’ seriously," 26 Aug. 2019 Jenkins, playing the center-field position in defensive coordinator Gus Bradley’s cover-three scheme, backpedaled and timed his jump perfectly to grab his first career interception. Mike Digiovanna, Los Angeles Times, "Late Detroit touchdown is one of the few defensive blemishes for Chargers," 15 Sep. 2019 This isn’t to suggest that everyone who goes the bridge-burning route winds up backpedaling, or that there are always extenuating circumstances for the employer whose behavior is being called out. Sarah Todd, Quartz at Work, "The strange tale of the political staffer who quit on his boss’s Twitter account," 24 July 2019 Using only his left hand, Mack shoved backpedaling left tackle Nate Solder off his feet and into the legs of Giants quarterback Eli Manning. Will Larkin,, "Ranking the 100 best Bears players ever: No. 80, Khalil Mack," 18 June 2019 On Sunday, the newspaper published an interview in which Davis backpedaled. Frank Miles, Fox News, "Cohen lawyer admits he was anonymous CNN source for bombshell story on Trump Tower meeting," 27 Aug. 2018 Most days, the clock would be winding down, with Doering backpedaling before falling backward while making a one-handed, game-winning touchdown catch just like James Jones in 1982. Edgar Thompson,, "Florida, Miami renew rivalry with a rich history mostly lost on current Gators, 'Canes," 22 Aug. 2019 Later the White House seemed to backpedal a bit and talk up the dollar. Fortune, "The Week Trump and Xi Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Trade War—CEO Daily," 10 Aug. 2019

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

3 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for backpedal

The first known use of backpedal was in 1896

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More Definitions for backpedal


How to pronounce backpedal (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of backpedal

: to move backward with quick steps

More from Merriam-Webster on backpedal

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with backpedal

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