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[bak-trak] /ˈbækˌtræk/
verb (used without object)
to return over the same course or route.
to withdraw from an undertaking, position, etc.; reverse a policy.
Origin of backtrack
An Americanism dating back to 1715-25; back2 + track Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for backtracking
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • If we did, we'd have to do a lot of backtracking to get back to this dead star.

    Islands of Space John W Campbell
  • backtracking ourselves, we found where she had left the road and had hidden behind a big rock while we had passed.

    I Married a Ranger Dama Margaret Smith
  • In backtracking along the highway, they encountered two extensive patches of flood water.

    Dan Carter Cub Scout Mildred A. Wirt
British Dictionary definitions for backtracking


verb (intransitive)
to return by the same route by which one has come
to retract or reverse one's opinion, action, policy, etc
Derived Forms
backtracking, noun
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
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Word Origin and History for backtracking



"retrace one's steps," figuratively, by 1896, from literal sense, with reference to hunted foxes, from back (adv.) + track (v.). Related: Backtracked; backtracking.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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