backwater

noun
back·​wa·​ter | \ˈbak-ˌwȯ-tər, -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)

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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 downpours that started Aug. 8 have triggered floods and landslides and caused homes and bridges to collapse across Kerala, a picturesque state known for its quiet tropical backwaters and beautiful beaches. Amy Lieu, Fox News, "Thousands stranded in India as deadly monsoon floods continue," 19 Aug. 2018 After decades under the radar, this once-sleepy backwater is on the road to overdevelopment. Peter Jon Lindberg, Condé Nast Traveler, "How to Take Your Vietnam Trip to the Next Level," 20 Nov. 2018 The company was vacating its base in the city’s Waterloo neighborhood because its staff hated both the building and its location, which was, at the time, a dingy backwater overrun with drug dealers. Ruth Bloomfield, WSJ, "Building a Home Over the Office to Achieve Work-Life Balance," 20 Nov. 2018 The snarky family-out-of-water schtick of the once rich and snobby but now destitute Rose clan has evolved, as Johnny, Moira, David and Alexis become full-fledged townies of the backwater burg—albeit dressed in designer clothing. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "What to Watch on Netflix in October, According to Our Editors," 1 Oct. 2018 To me, that suggests the official isn’t someone totally obscure who would embarrass the paper if his or her identity became known, like a deputy assistant secretary in a backwater Cabinet agency. Andrew Prokop, Vox, "Who is the senior Trump official who wrote the New York Times op-ed?," 6 Sep. 2018 Many archaeologists have assumed that the builders were simple hunter-gatherer societies, living in provincial backwater settlements disconnected from the wider trade networks. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Find shows 4,000-year-old trade routes stretched from Carolinas to Great Lakes," 31 July 2018 What transformed the ailing backwater was Europe’s burgeoning leisure class, whose members arrived on vacation, seeking the healthful climate and affordable places to stay during the winter. James Mcauley, Town & Country, "The Tragic, Fascinating History of Santo Sospir," 13 Aug. 2018 No isolated Southern backwater was outside the national media’s reach. Joseph Crespino, WSJ, "‘Deep South Dispatch’ Review: Witness to the Persecution," 10 July 2018

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.

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First Known Use of backwater

1629, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Statistics for backwater

Last Updated

14 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for backwater

The first known use of backwater was in 1629

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More Definitions for backwater

backwater

noun

English Language Learners Definition of backwater

: 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.

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with backwater

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for backwater

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