verb (used without object), back-ped·aled, back-ped·al·ing or (especially British) back-ped·alled, back-ped·al·ling.
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.
bounce backRead more in this article about some frequently asked questions and fun facts related to our definitions.
back dimplesRead more in this article about some frequently asked questions and fun facts related to our definitions.
- back-seat driver,
Origin of back-pedal
First recorded in 1895–1900
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
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|Victor Appleton
verb -pedals, -pedalling or -pedalled or US -pedals, -pedaling or -pedaled (intr)
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