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 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 Kyrgios playing light-out at a smaller event, only to backslide the next event (see: Acapulco + Indian Wells). Jon Wertheim,, "Mailbag: What Should We Make of Another Nick Kyrgios Title?," 7 Aug. 2019 Talks broke down earlier after Trump accused Beijing of backsliding on promises Washington believed were locked in. Joe Mcdonald, San Diego Union-Tribune, "China tempers hopes about US tariff truce," 15 Oct. 2019 As for Veronica’s friends, Weevil (Francis Capra) has backslid into crime, Wallace (Percy Daggs III) is a family man, and Mac (Tina Majorino) is out of town. Shirley Li, The Atlantic, "The Moody Return of Veronica Mars," 15 July 2019 The Clinton chapter of that relationship ended amid fears that Yeltsin’s successor, Vladimir Putin, was backsliding on democracy. Eugene Rumer, Time, "How to Reset U.S.-Russian Relations Today," 20 June 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

6 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Backslide.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Feb. 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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