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 In recent days, companies including Goldman Sachs and Chevron have begun to backtrack on workplace policies. New York Times, 4 Jan. 2022 The government attempted to prevent that resignation by changing rules designed to stop corruption in parliament, but was forced to backtrack after the move provoked an outcry about integrity and trust under Johnson’s leadership. NBC News, 17 Dec. 2021 Blizzard could even backtrack on its goal of running OWL 2022 on Overwatch 2. Kris Holt, Forbes, 2 Nov. 2021 Companies set return-to-office dates, only to later backtrack and delay them due to health concerns. Chip Cutter, WSJ, 21 Nov. 2021 In the rich world, this is to avoid following in the embarrassing footsteps of French President Emmanuel Macron who had to backtrack to the yellow vest movement after proposing a modest hike to gasoline prices. Bjorn Lomborg, Forbes, 5 Nov. 2021 In the populous Buenos Aires Province, Fernández de Kirchner forced her favorite, Governor Axel Kicillof, to backtrack and sack key members of his Cabinet, including his own chief and personal friend Carlos Bianco. Agustino Fontevecchia, Forbes, 26 Oct. 2021 The school board denied the teenager access, prompting such severe parent backlash that the school was forced to backtrack and instead allowed Grimm to use a restroom reserved just for him. Washington Post, 26 Aug. 2021 Those who find themselves at the trail closure itself can backtrack and walk straight through the campground to find the trail at the entrance. oregonlive, 6 Oct. 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near backtrack



back trail

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Statistics for backtrack

Last Updated

11 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Backtrack.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Jan. 2022.

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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 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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