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See more synonyms for backtrack on Thesaurus.com
verb (used without object)
  1. to return over the same course or route.
  2. to withdraw from an undertaking, position, etc.; reverse a policy.
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Origin of backtrack

An Americanism dating back to 1715–25; back2 + track
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for back-track

Historical Examples

  • "Now right about face and back-track uptown," ordered the officer.

    Oh, You Tex!

    William Macleod Raine

  • That was at length resolved to his satisfaction; and he rode slowly in the back-track.

    The Boy Hunters

    Captain Mayne Reid

  • It was certainly the path of a war-party of Indians on the back-track.

    The War Trail

    Mayne Reid

  • Now that he had mounted and taken the back-track, the cause must be different.

    The Lone Ranche

    Captain Mayne Reid

  • I could not cross the street and the only thing to do was to back-track.

British Dictionary definitions for back-track


verb (intr)
  1. to return by the same route by which one has come
  2. to retract or reverse one's opinion, action, policy, etc
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Derived Formsbacktracking, noun
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

Word Origin and History for back-track



"retrace one's steps," figuratively, by 1896, from literal sense, with reference to hunted foxes, from back (adv.) + track (v.). Related: Backtracked; backtracking.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper