backwater

play
noun back·wa·ter \ -ˌwȯ-tər , -ˌwä- \

Definition of backwater

1 a :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
2 a :an isolated or backward place or condition
b :an unpopular or unimportant field (as of study or business)

Examples of backwater in a Sentence

  1. The once sleepy backwater is now a thriving city.

  2. a distant backwater that didn't even have electricity at that time

Recent Examples of backwater from the Web

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

backwater Synonyms


BACKWATER Defined for English Language Learners

backwater

play
noun

Definition of backwater for English Language Learners

  • : a part of a river where the water moves slowly because it is away from the main part of the river

  • : a quiet place (such as a town or village) where there is little activity, excitement, progress, etc.



Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

a strongly worded attack

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Merriam-Webster's New Words Quiz—Fall 2017 Edition!

  • young-plant-shoots
  • Which of the following is a new sense of the word bunny?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!