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

Now that Kylie Jenner has backtracked on her rule about not posting photos of Stormi Webster on social media, the makeup mogul's baby is back to giving some serious attitude on Instagram. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Stormi Webster Got Woken Up By Kylie Jenner, and She’s Pretty Mad About It," 16 Sep. 2018 Under scrutiny, Johnson started backtracking, and admitted the text could be a joke. Marshall Cohen, CNN, "Five times an incendiary pro-Trump claim on Russia fell flat," 19 May 2018 Now, about two years later, Microsoft apparently has backtracked further. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Microsoft Paint has been given another reprieve," 23 Apr. 2019 Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has in the past reluctantly accepted the concept of Palestinian statehood but has since backtracked. Fox News, "Israeli defense chief shrugs off Trump's remark on 2 states," 27 Sep. 2018 The Academy has been forced to backtrack on a lot of its most eyebrow-raising decisions (RIP, Popular Film Oscar), but one has stuck: For the first time in 30 years, this year’s Oscars will go ahead without a host. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Why the 2019 Oscars Don't Have a Host—And the Disaster That Ensued Last Time It Happened," 24 Feb. 2019 The government won’t backtrack on its plans for sizable increases in taxes on fuel; the tax on diesel will rise more than six euro cents a liter (about 26 U.S. cents a gallon) starting Jan. 1. Noemie Bisserbe, WSJ, "Macron Recommits to Fuel Tax Amid Rising Protests," 27 Nov. 2018 The Portuguese goalkeeper submitted a request to terminate his Sporting CP contract last week and today was his last opportunity to backtrack on that request., "Sporting CP Goalkeeper Rui Patricio Set to Join Wolves for Free After Standing Firm in Contract Row," 8 June 2018 Last year, he was forced to backtrack and apologize after suggesting that a British-Iranian woman being held in Iran was teaching journalists when she was arrested. Joshua Berlinger, CNN, "Trump could handle Brexit better than Theresa May, Boris Johnson says," 8 June 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

25 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 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).


a strong desire or propensity

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