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back·​space ˈbak-ˌspās How to pronounce backspace (audio)
backspaced; backspacing; backspaces

intransitive verb

: to move back a space in a text with the press of a key


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: an instance of backspacing
also : the key pressed in backspacing

Examples of backspace in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
The user can type and backspace but not much else, and, with the default settings, only ten lines of text are visible at a time. Julian Lucas, The New Yorker, 13 Dec. 2021 With nearly 35,000 likes, a viral tweet revealed how to backspace on the iPhone calculator. Max Londberg,, 6 May 2017 A quick Google search also turned up similar links from several years ago showing users how to swipe on the calculator to backspace. Brett Molina, USA TODAY, 5 May 2017 On Apple’s support page, a user asked how to backspace on the iPhone calculator in 2010. Max Londberg,, 6 May 2017 The thread explained there is, in fact, a way to backspace on your iPhone calculator by swiping the numbers in black to the left or right. Lindsey Murray, Good Housekeeping, 4 May 2017 Ubuntu (and some other flavors of Linux): Open a Terminal window and run the following line of code: setxkbmap -option caps:backspaceThat's it! Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, 16 Mar. 2017
The result is less wobble on the larger keys, particularly the space bar, left Shift, backspace and Enter keys. Mark Sparrow, Forbes, 7 May 2023 There’s no backspace or preview option, so choose wisely and avoid typos. Maya Polton, Better Homes & Gardens, 21 Apr. 2023 So, that guy was turning the TV on and then pushing backspace so the menu would go away fast enough. Kristen Baldwin,, 21 Feb. 2023 Another important component in a bespoke keyboard is the stabilizers used on the larger and longer keycaps, such as the left shift, backspace, enter and spacebar. Mark Sparrow, Forbes, 13 June 2022 And they’re typically triggered by something small and unanticipated—a stubbed toe, a spill on our shirt, or (for me recently) a broken backspace key on the laptop. Elizabeth Bernstein, WSJ, 6 Oct. 2020 The caps lock key is half size, the arrow keys are surrounded by home and end keys, and worst of all, the delete key is found right next to the backspace key, with no space between them. Dan Seifert, The Verge, 2 Aug. 2019 In an age of instant communication and keyboards with shortcuts and backspaces, using a typewriter may seem archaic. William Axford, Houston Chronicle, 9 Feb. 2018 A recent study by Leow and Nelson, who is the dean of the University of Illinois College of Engineering, showed cell phone metadata such as typing speed, spelling errors and using backspace while texting correlate with manic and depressive episodes. Alison Bowen, miamiherald, 21 June 2017 See More

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


1898, in the meaning defined above


1912, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of backspace was in 1898

Dictionary Entries Near backspace

Cite this Entry

“Backspace.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


: to move back one space in a text with the press of a key
backspace noun

More from Merriam-Webster on backspace

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