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 The economic recovery is stalling and starting to backslide. Washington Post, "The Trump administration is hampering the economic recovery at a critical time," 20 Nov. 2020 Counties can move into less-restrictive tiers if their numbers improve or backslide if conditions worsen for two consecutive weeks. Luke Money, Los Angeles Times, "L.A. County coronavirus cases hit highest daily level in three months," 5 Nov. 2020 Residents fear that the city might backslide toward the paralyzing days of last spring, when hospitals were bursting beyond capacity and deaths came faster than funeral parlors could handle them. Henry Goldman,, "NYC Will Close More Public Schools Amid Violent Protests," 8 Oct. 2020 The continued spread of the coronavirus is raising worries that the economy could backslide again and snuff out the budding improvements it's shown. Elaine Kurtenbach, Star Tribune, "Asian shares track worldwide rally as S&P 500 nears record," 3 Aug. 2020 Adding to the challenge is the Smithsonian’s commitment to ensuring its various museums don’t backslide on their recent efforts to improve accessibility for visitors with disabilities. Ryan P. Smith, Smithsonian Magazine, "What Does the Smithsonian Look Like in the Post-COVID Era?," 28 July 2020 The risk now is the economy will backslide, suffering long-lasting double-digit unemployment. Mark Zandi, CNN, "To save the US economy, we need to save jobs. This program could do that," 7 July 2020 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

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

30 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Backslide.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Dec. 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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Nglish: Translation of backslide for Spanish Speakers

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