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) \

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 backslide (audio) \ noun

Examples of backslide in a Sentence

Smokers who quit often backslide within a year.
Recent Examples on the Web Pressure by the Trump administration got the Merkel government to beef up its military spending, but Berlin may backslide absent heavy-duty Biden administration urgings. Steve Forbes, Forbes, "Is The U.S.-Germany Relationship At Risk? What This Means For China And Russia," 12 Mar. 2021 There were fears that Texas could backslide, particularly as new variants of the virus emerge. New York Times, "With Texas’ Mask Mandate Over, Workers Worry About Encroaching Virus," 10 Mar. 2021 Through isolating Suu Kyi, the world succeeded only in helping Myanmar backslide into military rule. Brian Wong, Time, "The World Has Failed Myanmar, So Now Its Youth Are Stepping Up," 5 Mar. 2021 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

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

24 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Backslide.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for backslide



English Language Learners Definition of backslide

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

More from Merriam-Webster on backslide

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for backslide

Nglish: Translation of backslide for Spanish Speakers

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