back·stroke | \ˈbak-ˌstrōk \

Definition of backstroke 

: a swimming stroke executed on the back and usually consisting of alternating circular arm pulls and a flutter kick

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from backstroke

backstroker \ˈbak-ˌstrō-kər \ noun

Examples of backstroke in a Sentence

She got into the pool and began to do the backstroke. She won the 50-meter backstroke.

Recent Examples on the Web

McDonogh’s boys: Colin Bitz (100 backstroke), Derek Nguyen (100 breaststroke), Ben Merz, Selnick Alexander Zuga and Nguyen for the 200 freestyle relay. Katherine Dunn,, "McDonogh, Loyola swimmers named high school All-Americans," 5 July 2018 For the 13-14 50-yard backstroke, Hunter Null(30.61), Spencer Meyers (33.90) and Harrison Brown (36.07) were the top three. Robert Avery, Houston Chronicle, "Seal swimmers post strong times in CCSL opener," 4 June 2018 Piunti took over as Chesterton's top backstroke swimmer late in the season after recovering from an injury. Johnny Gorches, Post-Tribune, "Andrew Alders and Lucas Piunti carry the torch for Chesterton in swimming," 23 Feb. 2018 Barbiere, who placed fourth in the 1968 Olympics in the 100-meter backstroke, will go on to star for Indiana’s NCAA powerhouse. Mike Klingaman,, "The Sun Remembers: This Week in Maryland Sports History for June 17-23," 17 June 2018 Name: Mia Piljevic Year in school: Senior School: Niles West Sport: Girls swimming Best game: Piljevic placed 28th in the 100-yard backstroke during the girls swimming state meet preliminaries on Nov. 17, 2017, at New Trier in Winnetka. Chicago Tribune,, "Central April challenge," 4 Apr. 2018 Also finished seventh in the 100 free and 22nd in 100 backstroke after placing second in both at the sectional. Johnny Gorches, Post-Tribune, "Introducing the 2017-18 Post-Tribune Boys Swimming All-Area Team," 27 Mar. 2018 Elsewhere, Carmel grad Claire Adams of Texas was seventh in the 100 backstroke in 51.38 and Bilquist 10th in 51.51. David Woods, Indianapolis Star, "IU's Lilly King breaks own American record in NCAA swimming," 16 Mar. 2018 Jacob Carlson took third place in the 50 freestyle in 20.80 seconds and in the 100 backstroke in 50.34 seconds. Andrew Gruman, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Acevedo defends 500 free title, Waukesha South/CMH takes third at state swimming meet," 20 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'backstroke.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of backstroke

1863, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about backstroke

Share backstroke

Statistics for backstroke

Last Updated

19 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for backstroke

The first known use of backstroke was in 1863

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for backstroke



English Language Learners Definition of backstroke

: a way of swimming in which a person floats in the water facing upward while kicking the legs and rotating the arms; also : a race in which the swimmers do the backstroke

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on backstroke

See words that rhyme with backstroke

Spanish Central: Translation of backstroke Encyclopedia article about backstroke

Comments on backstroke

What made you want to look up backstroke? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a state of commotion or excitement

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!