back·track | \ˈbak-ˌtrak \
backtracked; backtracking; backtracks

Definition of backtrack 

intransitive verb

1a : to retrace one's course

b : to go back to an earlier point in a sequence

2 : to reverse a position

Examples of backtrack in a Sentence

The hikers realized they had made a wrong turn and would have to backtrack. Let me backtrack for a moment and pick up our previous conversation.

Recent Examples on the Web

The White House later backtracked from his claim that Saudi Arabia had agreed to the request, but not without affirming that the kingdom had 2m b/d of spare capacity. The Economist, "The American president is stirring up trouble in a volatile oil market," 4 July 2018 Ronaldo initially backtracked on his comments, but speculation remains., "Is It Happening? Juventus Closing in on €100m Deal as Ronaldo 'Considers Leaving Real Madrid'," 3 July 2018 For dessert, backtrack to the Bresca & the Honey Bee snack shop at Outlet Beach, a piney oasis at a private swimming hole on Sabbathday Lake. Patricia Harris And David Lyon,, "Goin’ up the country: The rustic appeal of Maine’s Route 26," 21 June 2018 Huerta recalled fasting with Robert F. Kennedy, credited the recent public outcry with forcing Trump to backtrack on his new policy, and said continued protests are the only way to ensure families are reunited. Molly Hennessy-fiske,, "Kerry Kennedy and Dolores Huerta rally supporters of immigrant family reunification," 23 June 2018 Najib blamed Malaysia’s ethnic Chinese minority for abandoning his coalition and backtracked on reforms. Washington Post, "Once seen as reformer, Malaysia leader faces legitimacy test," 3 May 2018 The 24-year-old even completed his initial media duties with the Red before the French club announced that the move had fallen through, reportedly due to them backtracking on the initial fee following his medical., "Report Calls on Liverpool to Shortlist PSG Forward as Long-Term Replacement to Philippe Coutinho," 30 June 2018 This is the second time this year that Muji has backtracked over Chinese criticism. Eli Meixler, Fortune, "Japanese Retailer Muji Is the Latest Company to Face China's Anger Over Taiwan," 24 May 2018 And, let’s be clear, the United States also has a record of flipflopping, offering concessions under one administration only to backtrack under the next. Heather Hurlburt, Daily Intelligencer, "What Happens When You Treat Nuclear Diplomacy Like a Reality TV Show," 24 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'backtrack.' 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 backtrack

1870, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Statistics for backtrack

Last Updated

12 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for backtrack

The first known use of backtrack was in 1870

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More Definitions for backtrack



English Language Learners Definition of backtrack

: to go back over a course or path

: to return to something that was mentioned before

: to completely change what you think or say about something


back·track | \ˈbak-ˌtrak \
backtracked; backtracking

Kids Definition of backtrack

: to go back over a course or a path

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Comments on backtrack

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not any or not one

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