1 of 2


: a wind blowing onto the wrong side of a sail
especially : one directed upon a mainsail by a wrongly trimmed jib


2 of 2

transitive verb

: to direct a backwind upon
a jib thus bellied is most apt to backwind the mainsail
: to sail to windward of (another sailing ship) so as to blanket or interfere with the wind
backwind his opponent in a yacht race

Word History



back entry 3 + wind

First Known Use


1909, in the meaning defined above

Transitive Verb

1899, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of backwind was in 1899

Love words?

You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

Dictionary Entries Near backwind

Cite this Entry

“Backwind.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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