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 Much of the game is spent exploring, prodding at available paths and backtracking to brush past old dead ends with new abilities. Wired, "Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order Is Strong With the Force," 15 Nov. 2019 Speaking after his side's lacklustre display at the Vitality Stadium, the Norwegian boss backtracked on previous quotes that the club must look to recruit in January, and insisted that his squad has enough talent to turn around their dim fortunes., "Man Utd Boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Hints at Lack of January Activity Despite Need for More Creativity," 3 Nov. 2019 The Sun Devils had field position at the Utah 28 but ASU backtracked and ended up with a fourth-25 after two 5-yard penalties and a sack and had to punt. Michelle Gardner, azcentral, "ASU's youth exposed as Utah defense overwhelms Sun Devils," 19 Oct. 2019 The listing comes 18 months after Helios Towers first backtracked on a planned initial public offering amid concerns of political stability in its some of its African markets. Yomi Kazeem, Quartz Africa, "Global investors are hoping to cash in on the infrastructure of Africa’s mobile revolution," 15 Oct. 2019 On top of that, backtracking Borisov’s path requires rewinding the clock and determining where stars in the Milky Way used to be. Michael Greshko, National Geographic, "Interstellar comet starts coming into focus," 4 Oct. 2019 Trump’s backtracking on the need for a universal background check bill could kill what little momentum there is; congressional Republicans in the past have been loathe to take up bills Trump doesn’t support. Ella Nilsen, Vox, "Suburban women want Congress to act on gun control, Republican poll finds," 20 Aug. 2019 But the administration has already backtracked on the idea of liberally granting licenses following the collapse of trade negotiations, Bloomberg reported last week. Klint Finley, WIRED, "Trump Delays Tariffs on Smartphones and Laptops," 13 Aug. 2019 Following fierce criticism from both Democratic and Republican lawmakers, Trump did appear to partially backtrack. NBC News, "Former U.S. officials criticize Trump's decision to 'abandon' Kurds," 17 Nov. 2019

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

7 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Backtrack.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 10 December 2019.

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on backtrack

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with backtrack

Spanish Central: Translation of backtrack

Nglish: Translation of backtrack for Spanish Speakers

Comments on backtrack

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


to state or do over again or repeatedly

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