- to retard the forward motion by pressing backward on the pedal, especially of a bicycle with coaster brakes.
- to retreat from or reverse one's previous stand on any matter; shift ground: to back-pedal after severe criticism.
- Boxing. to retreat from an opponent, especially by stepping rapidly backward.
Origin of back-pedal
First recorded in 1895–1900
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for back-pedal
Several times, when I wanted to slow up, I began to back-pedal, forgetting that I wasn't on my bicycle.Tom Swift and his Motor-cycle
- to turn the pedals of a bicycle backwards
- to retract or modify a previous opinion, principle, etc
- boxing to take backward steps
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