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[bak-woo dz] /ˈbækˈwʊdz/
(often used with a singular verb) wooded or partially uncleared and unsettled districts.
any remote or isolated area.
adjective, Also, backwood, backwoodsy
of or relating to the backwoods.
unsophisticated; uncouth.
Origin of backwoods
An Americanism dating back to 1700-10; back1 + wood1 ( def 7 )
2. hinterland, provinces, wilds, woodland; sticks, boondocks, boonies, bush, backwater. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for backwood
Historical Examples
  • Colony was divided from colony by many miles of forest and backwood.

  • I could not spin as could my mother, who had passed her childhood in backwood life.

    Life on the Stage Clara Morris
  • But backwood hunters were bold fellows in those days, and Indians were by no means noted for reckless courage.

    Silver Lake R.M. Ballantyne
  • I loved the hearing of them, in the various dialects of the protagonists, from a lordly lisp to a backwood burr.

    Caught by the Turks Francis Yeats-Brown
  • Thus ended the wedding of Isaac Younker—a fair specimen, by the way, of a backwood's wedding in the early settlement of the west.

    Ella Barnwell Emerson Bennett
  • Here, in the multiplicity of footprints, he knew his own would be indistinguishable to even the keenest of backwood eyes.

    Jim Charles G. D. Roberts
  • From year to year his influence grew, as grows a tree in the backwood age, that neither shuns nor defies the storm.

    Perlycross R. D. Blackmore
  • A stable and pig-sty completed the appurtenances of this backwood dwelling.

  • For I do reckon we love as hard in the backwood country, as any people in the whole creation.

  • For the two years I knew it the charm of that backwood life never palled.

    Life on the Stage Clara Morris
British Dictionary definitions for backwood


plural noun
(mainly US & Canadian) partially cleared, sparsely populated forests
any remote sparsely populated place
(modifier) of, from, or like the backwoods
(modifier) uncouth; rustic
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 backwood

1709, American English, from back (adj.) + wood (n.) "forested tract." Also backwoods. As an adjective, from 1784.

BACKWOODSMEN ... This word is commonly used as a term of reproach (and that, only in a familiar style,) to designate those people, who, being at a distance from the sea and entirely agricultural, are considered as either hostile or indifferent to the interests of the commercial states. [John Pickering, "A Vocabulary, or Collection of Words and Phrases Which Have Been Supposed to be Peculiar to the United States of America," Boston, 1816]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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