backslide

verb

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

intransitive verb

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

Examples of backslide in a Sentence

Smokers who quit often backslide within a year.
Recent Examples on the Web Guard Trey Townsend, who averaged 17.3 points for Oakland, is exactly the type of player needed to keep the program from backsliding significantly in its new home. Jon Wilner, The Mercury News, 10 May 2024 In backsliding democracies, too, demagogues have pushed aggressively into the cultural realm. Suzanne Nossel, Foreign Affairs, 29 Feb. 2024 Change is never easy, but legacy Fitbit users have been through enough this year, and Google can’t afford to backslide here. Brandon Widder, The Verge, 16 Dec. 2023 Yet another basket of states, backsliding allies and hypertransactional partners, will likewise welcome a Trump rerun. Peter D. Feaver, Foreign Affairs, 19 Feb. 2024 Transparency International ranks Indonesia at 110 out of 180 nations in its annual Corruption Perceptions Index and says the country has backslid somewhat during Jokowi’s time in office. Kathleen Magramo, CNN, 12 Feb. 2024 These erosions are neither universal nor inevitable; according to Freedom House, 11 African countries experienced improvements in political rights in 2022 compared to nine states that experienced backsliding. Joseph Sany, Foreign Affairs, 30 Jan. 2024 When Grant’s second term ended in March of 1877, the progress towards racial equality had begun to backslide. Daniel Foster, National Review, 30 Nov. 2023 But since the Georgian Dream party won democratic elections in 2012, there has been backsliding in anti-corruption, press freedom, and justice. Anna Mulrine Grobe, The Christian Science Monitor, 25 Sep. 2023

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

1554, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of backslide was in 1554

Dictionary Entries Near backslide

Cite this Entry

“Backslide.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/backslide. Accessed 26 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

backslide

verb
back·​slide ˈbak-ˌslīd How to pronounce backslide (audio)
backslid -ˌslid How to pronounce backslide (audio) ; backslid or backslidden -ˌslid-ᵊn How to pronounce backslide (audio) ; backsliding -ˌslīd-iŋ How to pronounce backslide (audio)
1
: to go back to a less religious or less moral condition
2
: to go back to a worse condition
backslide noun
backslider noun

More from Merriam-Webster on backslide

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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