1

backward

play
adverb back·ward \ˈbak-wərd\
variants: or

backwards

play \-wərdz\

Definition of backward

  1. 1a :  toward the back or rear She glanced backward over her shoulder.b :  with the back foremost Take three steps backward.

  2. 2a :  in a reverse or contrary direction or way Count backward from 10.b :  toward the past a journey backward in timec :  toward a worse state His new job felt like a step backward.

bend over backward

or

lean over backward

  1. :  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.

14th Century

First Known Use of backward

14th century


2

backward

adjective back·ward

Definition of backward

  1. 1a :  directed or turned toward the back a backward glanceb :  done or executed backward a backward somersault

  2. 2 :  diffident, shy I have been backward to begin my canvass. — Edmund Burke

  3. 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

14th Century

First Known Use of backward

14th century


3

backward

noun back·ward

Definition of backward

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

1610

First Known Use of backward

1610



BACKWARD Defined for English Language Learners

1

backward

play
adverb back·ward \ˈbak-wərd\

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


2

backward

adjective back·ward

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

play
adverb back·ward \ˈbak-wərd\
variants: or

backwards

\-wərdz\

Definition of backward for Students

  1. 1 :  toward the back look backward

  2. 2 :  with the back first ride backward

  3. 3 :  opposite to the usual way count backward


2

backward

play
adjective back·ward

Definition of backward for Students

  1. 1 :  turned toward the back He wears a backward baseball cap.

  2. 2 :  done backward a backward flip

  3. 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



Seen and Heard

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

WORD OF THE DAY

clearly seen through or understood

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • manet-jeanne-spring
  • Which is a synonym of chaffer?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ