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 Dijon Stanley caught the opening kickoff, met a wall of Arleta defenders, attempted to shake and bake and backtrack all the way to the opposite sideline — and tripped flat on his face. Luca Evans, Los Angeles Times, 19 Aug. 2022 It’s been proven around the globe that politicians can be quick to backtrack on expensive climate policies when faced with economic trouble and an angry electorate. Bjorn Lomborg, WSJ, 23 Aug. 2022 Soon, it was forced to backtrack and acknowledge that Johnson had in fact been informed. Adam Taylor, Washington Post, 6 July 2022 Those who portrayed brick-and-mortar stores as a relic of retail’s past have had to backtrack in a major way. Bobby Marhamat, Forbes, 16 May 2022 Mordaunt has been forced by her rivals to backtrack on her support for transgender people. Jaweed Kaleem, Los Angeles Times, 18 July 2022 Sometimes a promising path doesn’t work out, and the team has to backtrack and find a different fork off from a previous trail. Tony Bradley, Forbes, 1 June 2022 But even China may yet be forced to backtrack on its control of the tech giants, as regulations have already weakened their productivity and, in combination with the COVID-19 pandemic, undermined the growth of the Chinese economy. Wendell Wallach, Fortune, 16 June 2022 On Sunday, during the CBS telecast of the final round of the RBC Canadian Open, Monahan didn’t backtrack on his decision. Steve Dimeglio, USA TODAY, 12 June 2022 See More

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.

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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Last Updated

2 Oct 2022

Cite this Entry

“Backtrack.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for backtrack


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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