back·​track | \ ˈbak-ˌtrak How to pronounce backtrack (audio) \
backtracked; backtracking; backtracks

Definition of backtrack

intransitive verb

1a : to retrace one's course
b : to go back to an earlier point in a sequence
2 : to reverse a position

Examples of backtrack in a Sentence

The hikers realized they had made a wrong turn and would have to backtrack. Let me backtrack for a moment and pick up our previous conversation.
Recent Examples on the Web Leaders in the United States and Britain have promised too much too soon, and have had to backtrack. New York Times, 22 Aug. 2021 Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra has already had to backtrack in attempts to mediate a separate conflict between drugmakers and hospitals over the same drug discount program. Rachel Cohrs, STAT, 2 July 2021 The company has also sought to automate tasks at too rapid a pace, forcing it to backtrack and integrate people back into the process. Washington Post, 20 Aug. 2021 That led many districts to backtrack their original plans to offer online programs. Talia Richman, Dallas News, 19 Aug. 2021 Twitter is closing its New York and San Francisco offices as companies in technology and other fields backtrack on plans to reopen their headquarters amid a resurgence of COVID-19. Megan Cerullo, CBS News, 29 July 2021 Barrientos expects Bukele to backtrack before September 7 under pressure from international financial institutions and of some of his own advisers. Wired, 30 June 2021 But Swartzberg doesn’t think California will need to backtrack and face any new restrictions this summer. Kellie Hwang, San Francisco Chronicle, 28 June 2021 Lawmakers failed to pass a bill in the regular session that would have awarded state funds to school systems that provide online classes, causing many Texas school systems to backtrack on their plans. Corbett Smith, Dallas News, 17 Aug. 2021

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

1870, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Time Traveler for backtrack

Time Traveler

The first known use of backtrack was in 1870

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Last Updated

20 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Backtrack.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for backtrack



English Language Learners Definition of backtrack

: to go back over a course or path
: to return to something that was mentioned before
: to completely change what you think or say about something


back·​track | \ ˈbak-ˌtrak How to pronounce backtrack (audio) \
backtracked; backtracking

Kids Definition of backtrack

: to go back over a course or a path

More from Merriam-Webster on backtrack

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for backtrack

Nglish: Translation of backtrack for Spanish Speakers


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