- toward the back or rear.
- with the back foremost.
- in the reverse of the usual or right way: counting backward from 100.
- toward the past: to look backward over one's earlier mistakes.
- toward a less advanced state; retrogressively: Since the overthrow of the president the country has moved steadily backward.
- directed toward the back or past.
- reversed; returning: a backward movement; a backward journey.
- behind in time or progress; late; slow: a backward learner; a backward country.
- bashful or hesitant; shy: a backward lover.
- backward and forward, thoroughly: He knew his lesson backward and forward.Also backwards and forwards.
Origin of backward
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for backward
There has been a lot of talk about leaning forward and backward.Whither the Women’s Movement?
July 19, 2014
Backward, backward, backward Ghana ran, and frantically…toward its own endangered goal.Stars and Stripes 2, Black Stars 1: Team USA Takes a Win From Ghana
June 17, 2014
The Founders—so backward in their attitudes on race—launched the republic on the basis of religious tolerance.Six Catholics, Three Jews and Not Much Memory at the Supreme Court
May 10, 2014
So finding that, and finding the arrangement that was forward and backward at once, was difficult.Interview: T Bone Burnett, the Coen Brothers’ Music Guru
December 13, 2013
Authoritarianism And Backward Priorities There does not need to be a HealthCare.gov, and there need be no state-run websites.Obamacare’s Rollout Is a Disaster That Didn’t Have to Happen
October 20, 2013
The recoil, catching him in a bad posture, knocked him backward.The Leopard Woman
Stewart Edward White
Fair on each shield struck a lance, and backward reeled their holders.Fair Margaret
H. Rider Haggard
The dog-musher indicated White Fang with a backward thrust of his thumb.White Fang
Have the children of the well-to-do been backward in volunteering?War Taxation
Otto H. Kahn
The Dauphine was not backward in repeating this word for word.The Memoirs of the Louis XIV. and The Regency, Complete
Elizabeth-Charlotte, Duchesse d'Orleans
- (usually prenominal) directed towards the reara backward glance
- retarded in physical, material, or intellectual developmentbackward countries; a backward child
- of or relating to the past; conservative or reactionary
- (in combination)backward-looking
- reluctant or bashfula backward lover
- chess (of a pawn) behind neighbouring pawns and unable to be supported by them
- a variant of backwards
Word Origin and History for backward
c.1300, from abakward, from Old English on bæc (see back (adv.)) + -weard adjectival and adverbial suffix (see -ward). Old English had the adverb bæcling. As an adjective, from 1550s. Meaning "behindhand with regard to progress" is first attested 1690s. To ring bells backward (from lowest to highest), c.1500, was a signal of alarm for fire or invasion, or to express dismay. Another Middle English word for "backward, wrongly" was arseward (c.1400).