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  1. stitching or a stitch in which the thread is doubled back on the preceding stitch.
verb (used with or without object)
  1. to sew by backstitch.

Origin of backstitch

First recorded in 1605–15; back2 + stitch
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for back-stitch

Historical Examples

  • You must be careful to take a back-stitch constantly, as you proceed.

    The Ladies' Work-Table Book


  • In making up flannel, back-stitch and run the seams, and then cross-stitch them open.

    A Treatise on Domestic Economy

    Catherine Esther Beecher

  • Hem around the ends of the tape and back-stitch across the tape just at the edge of the towel.

    Handicraft for Girls

    Idabelle McGlauflin

  • The next stitch to learn is the combination-stitch, which is made up of both the running and the back-stitch (Figure 12).

  • Use the combination stitch of one running stitch and one back-stitch just below the basting.

British Dictionary definitions for back-stitch


  1. a strong sewing stitch made by starting the next stitch at the middle or beginning of the preceding one
  1. to sew using this stitch
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for back-stitch


1610s, from back (adj.) + stitch (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper