back·​track | \ ˈbak-ˌtrak How to pronounce backtrack (audio) \
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 Health officials eventually backtrack and recommend fabric face coverings to block respiratory droplets in public. Washington Post, "2020: The year of the virus," 31 Dec. 2020 Barrera said the pandemic has made this challenging because the district does not want to communicate a decision to parents then have to backtrack on that decision due to the changing status of the pandemic. Kristen Taketa, San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Diego Unified School Board candidates backed by unions prevail," 4 Nov. 2020 To backtrack a little bit, Cynthia and Mike first got engaged in July 2019, as shown in season 12. Lia Beck,, "What We Know About Cynthia Bailey’s Pandemic Wedding — & How Much RHOA Will Show," 6 Dec. 2020 In mid-November, one new trustee joined the board, flipping the board majority to one that began to backtrack on the agreement. Emily Donaldson, Dallas News, "Lancaster ISD superintendent’s $2M buyout blocked for nearly a year," 2 Dec. 2020 The parliamentary allies of French President Emmanuel Macron were forced to backtrack this week over a controversial bill that sparked mass protests across the country. Washington Post, "Macron’s liberal double standards," 2 Dec. 2020 Georgia has finally certified election results showing Joe Biden won the state's 16 Electoral College votes after prematurely announcing the move earlier in the day and being forced to backtrack. Barnini Chakraborty, Washington Examiner, "Georgia finally certifies election results in favor of Biden after earlier confusion," 20 Nov. 2020 The worry, though, is that conditions could backtrack if coronavirus counts worsen or if Washington can’t broker a deal on more aid for an economy that investors say absolutely needs it. Alex Veiga,, "S&P 500 briefly crests at record level as stocks drift higher," 18 Aug. 2020 Even Hannah understands how repulsive unapologetic female ambition is, and at the last minute, tries to backtrack. Emma Pattee, Marie Claire, "Sorry, But Loving Dave Burd and Hating Hannah Horvath Is Highly Problematic," 10 Nov. 2020

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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Time Traveler for backtrack

Time Traveler

The first known use of backtrack was in 1870

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Statistics for backtrack

Last Updated

11 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Backtrack.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for backtrack


How to pronounce backtrack (audio)

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 How to pronounce backtrack (audio) \
backtracked; backtracking

Kids Definition of backtrack

: to go back over a course or a path

More from Merriam-Webster on backtrack

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for backtrack

Nglish: Translation of backtrack for Spanish Speakers

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