back·​step | \ ˈbak-ˌstep How to pronounce backstep (audio) \
plural backsteps

Definition of backstep

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a backward step A rugged, aggressive, hard-punching pugilist who refuses to take a backstep in the ring …San Gabriel Valley Tribune (California), 21 Oct. 2009
back·​step | \ ˈbak-ˌstep How to pronounce backstep (audio) \
backstepped; backstepping; backsteps

Definition of backstep (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to take a step backward Gwynn deflected the axe again and backstepped rapidly, trying to get some space in which to catch a breath.— K. J. Bishop, The Etched City, 2003
2 : to modify, retreat from, or reverse a position or stand once taken : backtrack sense 2 Kentucky legislators forced multi-age classes on its elementary schools in 1992 as part of an education overhaul, but backstepped last year by allowing unhappy schools to opt out. — Susan Hill Smith, Post and Courier (Charleston, South Carolina), 16 Sept. 1997

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First Known Use of backstep


1562, in the meaning defined above

Intransitive verb

1900, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of backstep was in 1562

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Cite this Entry

“Backstep.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Jul. 2020.

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