[ bak-doun ]
See synonyms for backdown on
  1. a withdrawal from a previously held position, especially in the face of superior power or upon further consideration.

Origin of backdown

An Americanism dating back to 1860–65; noun use of verb phrase back down Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use backdown in a sentence

  • She had made up her mind that at the first sign of danger she would turn Nabob and make a dash back down the trail for safety.

  • She had the grit to pray for Judus if she took the notion—there warn't no back-down to her, I judge.

    Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Complete | Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
  • A wood-thrush flitted from a ravine as she and Bub went back down the creek—and she stopped with uplifted face to listen.

  • I straightened him, and put my coat across his face, and spurred back down the road again and over the gate.

    The Way of a Man | Emerson Hough
  • Two of our party were for turning back down the valley, but Auberry said he could see no advantage in that.

    The Way of a Man | Emerson Hough

British Dictionary definitions for back down

back down

  1. (intr, adverb) to withdraw an earlier claim

  2. (tr) rowing to cause (a boat) to move backwards by pushing rather than pulling on the oars

  1. abandonment of an earlier claim

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with backdown


Reverse one's upward course, descend. For example, When she saw the wasps' nest on the roof, she hastily backed down the ladder. This literal usage usually refers to something one has climbed, such as a ladder or mountain. [Mid-1800s]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.