back·​slide | \ ˈbak-ˌslīd How to pronounce backslide (audio) \
backslid\ ˈbak-​ˌslid How to pronounce backslid (audio) \; backslid or backslidden\ ˈbak-​ˌsli-​dᵊn How to pronounce backslidden (audio) \; backsliding\ ˈbak-​ˌslī-​diŋ How to pronounce backsliding (audio) \

Definition of backslide

intransitive verb

1 : to lapse morally or in the practice of religion
2 : to revert to a worse condition : retrogress

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Other Words from backslide

backslide noun
backslider \ ˈbak-​ˌslī-​dər How to pronounce backslider (audio) \ noun

Examples of backslide in a Sentence

Smokers who quit often backslide within a year.
Recent Examples on the Web In the days after her firing, commissioners cited a variety of reasons for Kirkpatrick’s dismissal, some of which were connected to the department backslide on reforms. Megan Cassidy,, "Fired Oakland police chief announces plan to file lawsuit against city," 5 Mar. 2020 Like Allen, Love excelled as a sophomore, when he was surrounded by strong personnel, then backslid when the quality around him diminished. Ben Shpigel, New York Times, "Who Is Jordan Love? A High-Risk, High-Reward Quarterback," 21 Apr. 2020 Fee reform 'might backslide' The aftermath of the 2008 recession looms large for those worried about the escalation of fines and fees. Eli Hager, USA TODAY, "Courts are closed due to coronavirus. But if you owe fines and fees, you still have to pay," 22 Apr. 2020 If students backslide, advocates warn that extra services will be needed once school is back in session. Koby Levin, Detroit Free Press, "What shuttered schools mean for students with disabilities in Michigan," 8 Apr. 2020 Some set goals for a distant future, punting here, backsliding there. Brian T. Allen, National Review, "To the 1619 Project: Use More Art, Less Fake History," 25 Jan. 2020 But Bateman and others worry about backsliding toward payments that support private profits, rather than environmental progress. Erik Stokstad, Science | AAAS, "United Kingdom to embark on ‘agricultural revolution’ in break from EU farm subsidies," 17 Jan. 2020 With progress appearing to backslide, the United States' envoy to North Korea made an end-of-year plea Monday to revive stalled negotiations over Kim Jong Un's nuclear program. Alexander Smith, NBC News, "U.S. tells North Korea over nuclear talks: 'You know how to reach us'," 16 Dec. 2019 Data compiled by the United Nations show slow progress and even backsliding in the areas of child wasting and stunting and other problems related to malnutrition. Washington Post, "UN: Nearly a half-billion in Asia-Pacific still going hungry," 11 Dec. 2019

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

1554, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for backslide

Time Traveler

The first known use of backslide was in 1554

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Statistics for backslide

Last Updated

11 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Backslide.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for backslide


How to pronounce backslide (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of backslide

: to start doing something bad again after you have stopped it

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More from Merriam-Webster on backslide

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for backslide

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with backslide

Spanish Central: Translation of backslide

Nglish: Translation of backslide for Spanish Speakers

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