backward

adverb
back·​ward | \ ˈbak-wərd How to pronounce backward (audio) \
variants: or backwards \ ˈbak-​wərdz How to pronounce backward (audio) \

Definition of backward

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : toward the back or rear She glanced backward over her shoulder.
b : with the back foremost Take three steps backward.
2a : in a reverse or contrary direction or way Count backward from 10.
b : toward the past a journey backward in time
c : toward a worse state His new job felt like a step backward.
bend over backward or lean over backward
: to make extreme efforts (as at concession) He said he would bend over backward to make the deal.

backward

adjective

Definition of backward (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : directed or turned toward the back a backward glance
b : done or executed backward a backward somersault
2 : diffident, shy I have been backward to begin my canvass.— Edmund Burke
3 : retarded in development a technologically backward village

backward

noun

Definition of backward (Entry 3 of 3)

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

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Other Words from backward

Adjective

backwardly adverb
backwardness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for backward

Synonyms: Adverb

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adverb

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Examples of backward in a Sentence

Adverb a sudden movement backward, not forward I heard a noise behind me and glanced backward. He pushed the throttle backward. She took a small step backward. a journey backward in time The narrative moves backward and forward in time. Adjective a technologically backward village that has no running water a backward turn on ice skates is hard to learn because you can't see where you're going
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Charlie Pasarell, another former player and founding member of the ATP said a new organization to represent players might even be a step backward. Matthew Futterman, New York Times, 25 May 2021 Lawyers for the men with potentially imminent death dates are considering suing over the new law, saying the state is going backward. BostonGlobe.com, 17 May 2021 Lawyers for the men with potentially imminent death dates are considering suing over the new law, saying the state is going backward. Jeffrey Collins, USA TODAY, 17 May 2021 Lawyers for the men with potentially imminent death dates are considering suing over the new law, saying the state is going backward. Fox News, 17 May 2021 Lawyers for the men with potentially imminent death dates are considering suing over the new law, saying the state is going backward. CBS News, 17 May 2021 Lawyers for the men with potentially imminent death dates are considering suing over the new law, saying the state is going backward. NBC News, 17 May 2021 The Black Keys have never been afraid to look backward — especially concerning the blues. Kory Grow, Rolling Stone, 14 May 2021 Some agencies began instructing officers to wear Tasers on the opposite side of their dominant hand, turned backward to be easily taken out. Washington Post, 12 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Some environmentalists, meanwhile, say the whole conversation is backward. Aarian Marshall, Wired, 20 May 2021 DeSouza, speaking at the Health Tech Summit, remained insistent that this is backward. Matthew Herper, STAT, 19 May 2021 But these are exactly the types of devices, for both consumers and businesses, that often don't receive updates, or can't because of concerns about backward compatibility. Lily Hay Newman, Wired, 13 May 2021 Now are older-generation titles, because the service operates as a stand-in for Sony’s lack of backward-compatibility for new consoles. Brad Chacos, PCWorld, 22 Apr. 2021 Notice when the ball is snapped, Lawrence drop steps with that front foot by taking a small backward step before firing forward. John Owning, Dallas News, 23 Sep. 2020 But that arrangement is backward, argues Streck, and impedes the pace of climate action. Tim Mcdonnell, Quartz, 30 Apr. 2021 Lawrence wears a furry leopard print coat while a ratty-looking Chalamet (sorry fans, but it’s true) boasts long hair, a backward baseball cap, and a knee length olive-green duster. Hayley Kaufman, BostonGlobe.com, 9 Feb. 2021 But Tuesday, with an opportunity to take another positive step forward, Luzardo’s only steps were backward. John Shea, San Francisco Chronicle, 13 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun No one beats Kimpton Hotels’ bend-over-backward welcome to pets. Pamela Wright, BostonGlobe.com, 27 Jan. 2021 But shark enthusiasts anywhere can also spend time spinning Nemesis backward or sideways, making her swim faster and enjoying her natural movements. Chris Perkins, sun-sentinel.com, 28 Sep. 2020 As part of the USGA's bend-over-backward attempt at inclusion, the top five in the Korn Ferry standings have earned spots at Winged Foot this week. Eddie Pells, Star Tribune, 14 Sep. 2020 To dust off your memory from English class, a palindrome is a word spelled the same backward as forward. Charles Trepany, USA TODAY, 24 June 2020 The video shows Silbaugh sitting in the street when the officer approaches her and kicks her in the shoulder to knock her backward. Kevin Flowers And Madeleine O'neill, USA TODAY, 16 June 2020 Bending over with his hands over his head and throwing the football backward between his legs put a lot of pressure on Shannon’s back. Tyler James, Indianapolis Star, 6 May 2020 Now, Accept does it, the movement is more all in the hips, but Accept is forward on the one and backward on the two. Matt Wake | Mwake@al.com, al, 1 Apr. 2020 Among the reminders: Things like standing up on a sled or hurtling down a hill backward are not allowed. Julie Bosman, New York Times, 25 Feb. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'backward.' 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 backward

Adverb

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

1610, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for backward

Time Traveler

The first known use of backward was in the 14th century

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Statistics for backward

Last Updated

7 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Backward.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/backward. Accessed 16 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for backward

backward

adverb

English Language Learners Definition of backward

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: toward the back : to or toward what is behind
: opposite to the usual way : in reverse
: toward the past

backward

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of backward (Entry 2 of 2)

: directed or turned toward the back
: done backward
: behind others : not as advanced as others in learning or development

backward

adverb
back·​ward | \ ˈbak-wərd How to pronounce backward (audio) \
variants: or backwards \ -​wərdz \

Kids Definition of backward

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : toward the back look backward
2 : with the back first ride backward
3 : opposite to the usual way count backward

backward

adjective

Kids Definition of backward (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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