back·​wa·​ter | \ ˈbak-ˌwȯ-tər How to pronounce backwater (audio) , -ˌwä- \

Definition of backwater

1a : water backed up in its course by an obstruction, an opposing current, or the tide
b : a body of water (such as an inlet or tributary) that is out of the main current of a larger body
2a : an isolated or backward place or condition
b : an unpopular or unimportant field (as of study or business)

Examples of backwater in a Sentence

The once sleepy backwater is now a thriving city. a distant backwater that didn't even have electricity at that time
Recent Examples on the Web The West has rallied to Ukraine’s support, pumping billions of dollars in aid and weaponry into what had previously been something of a backwater on Europe’s eastern fringe. Laura Kingstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 16 May 2022 The Encore casino — DeMaria’s legacy — has transformed its longstanding reputation as a perpetually declining industrial backwater. Adrian Walker,, 13 May 2022 Thousands of evacuations will be necessary, and backwater flooding along the Little Miami, Great Miami and Licking Rivers will results in major damage. Emily Deletter, The Enquirer, 12 May 2022 If the virtuous cycle of technological development and population density is the underlying cause of economic growth, Europe should have remained a backwater. Washington Post, 29 Apr. 2022 After some searching, Berent landed an entry-level position at Sun Microsystems, in a backwater division reviewing contracts. Steven Levy, Wired, 14 Apr. 2022 Taylor had first complained to the city as early as November 2020 regarding a backwater issue at the property, according to a letter from the City Attorney's Office. Vanessa Swales, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 12 Apr. 2022 The program will target 11 neighborhoods that have faced backups during severe storms, beginning with Aviation Sub and Victoria Park where 530 households are expected to be serviced with new backwater valves and sump pumps. Miriam Marini, Detroit Free Press, 8 Apr. 2022 Once a sleepy industrial backwater (the adjacency to the railroad was an asset), the place has changed with the times. Jacques Kelly,, 12 Mar. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of backwater

1629, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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The first known use of backwater was in 1629

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Last Updated

30 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Backwater.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jun. 2022.

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