back·​swim·​mer ˈbak-ˌswi-mər How to pronounce backswimmer (audio)
: an aquatic bug (family Notonectidae) that swims on its back

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web When given a choice between a silent male water strider and a mating pair with a tapping male, the backswimmer always headed towards the vibrating duo. Ed Yong, Discover Magazine, 10 Aug. 2010 Each vibration risks attracting the attention of a hungry predator, like a fish or backswimmer (above). Ed Yong, Discover Magazine, 10 Aug. 2010 The backswimmer menace is so potent that after a few minutes of tapping from the male, the female relents by opening her genital shield. Ed Yong, Discover Magazine, 10 Aug. 2010 But these aquatic water scavenger beetles do not swim like the backswimmer or the larvae. New York Times, 26 July 2021 The 0.01-inch-long water flea is able to change its body into a bigger (and thus more inedible) shape when threatened by a predator, like the tiny backswimmer, says Anne Estes, a microbiologist at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. National Geographic, 12 Nov. 2016

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

1807, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of backswimmer was in 1807

Dictionary Entries Near backswimmer

Cite this Entry

“Backswimmer.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 May. 2023.

Kids Definition


back·​swim·​mer -ˌswim-ər How to pronounce backswimmer (audio)
: any of a family of bugs that live in the water and swim on their backs
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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