1

backward

adverb back·ward \ ˈbak-wərd \
variants: or backwards play \-wərdz\
Updated on: 12 Dec 2017

Definition of backward

1 a : toward the back or rear
  • She glanced backward over her shoulder.
b : with the back foremost
  • Take three steps backward.
2 a : in a reverse or contrary direction or way
  • Count backward from 10.
b : toward the past
  • a journey backward in time
c : toward a worse state
  • His new job felt like a step backward.
bend over backward or lean over backward
: to make extreme efforts (as at concession)
  • He said he would bend over backward to make the deal.

Examples of backward in a Sentence

  1. a sudden movement backward, not forward

  2. I heard a noise behind me and glanced backward.

  3. He pushed the throttle backward.

  4. She took a small step backward.

  5. a journey backward in time

  6. The narrative moves backward and forward in time.

Recent Examples of backward from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'backward.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of backward

14th century

backward Synonyms


2

backward

adjective

Definition of backward

1 a : directed or turned toward the back
  • a backward glance
b : done or executed backward
  • a backward somersault
2 : diffident, shy
  • I have been backward to begin my canvass.
  • —Edmund Burke
3 : retarded in development
  • a technologically backward village

backwardly

adverb

backwardness

noun

Examples of backward in a Sentence

  1. a technologically backward village that has no running water

  2. a backward turn on ice skates is hard to learn because you can't see where you're going

Recent Examples of backward from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'backward.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of backward

14th century

backward Synonyms


3

backward

noun

Definition of backward

: the part behind or past
  • … the dark backward … of time …
  • —Shakespeare

Recent Examples of backward from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'backward.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of backward

1610



BACKWARD Defined for English Language Learners

backward

adverb

Definition of backward for English Language Learners

  • : toward the back : to or toward what is behind

  • : opposite to the usual way : in reverse

  • : toward the past


backward

adjective

Definition of backward for English Language Learners

  • : directed or turned toward the back

  • : done backward

  • : behind others : not as advanced as others in learning or development


BACKWARD Defined for Kids

1

backward

adverb back·ward \ ˈbak-wərd \
variants: or backwards \-wərdz\

Definition of backward for Students

1 : toward the back
  • look backward
2 : with the back first
  • ride backward
3 : opposite to the usual way
  • count backward

2

backward

adjective

Definition of backward for Students

1 : turned toward the back He wears a backward baseball cap.
2 : done backward
  • a backward flip
3 : not as advanced in learning and development as others
  • Perhaps the strange language made him appear more backward than he really was …
  • —Robert Louis Stevenson, Kidnapped


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