[ bak-lash ]
/ ˈbækˌlæʃ /


a sudden, forceful backward movement; recoil.
a strong or violent reaction, as to some social or political change: a backlash of angry feeling among Southern conservatives within the party.
  1. the space between the thickness of a gear tooth and the width of the space between teeth in the mating gear, designed to allow for a film of lubricant, binding from heat expansion and eccentricity, or manufacturing inaccuracies.
  2. play or lost motion between loosely fitting machine parts.
Angling. a snarled line on a reel, usually caused by a faulty cast.

verb (used without object)

to make or undergo a backlash.

Nearby words

  1. backie,
  2. backing,
  3. backing dog,
  4. backing light,
  5. backing store,
  6. backless,
  7. backlight,
  8. backlighting,
  9. backlins,
  10. backlist

Origin of backlash

First recorded in 1805–15; back2 + lash1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for backlashed

  • It was though his fingers carried a galvanic current that backlashed up his arm even as it stiffened hers.

    The Lani People|J. F. Bone

British Dictionary definitions for backlashed


/ (ˈbækˌlæʃ) /


a reaction or recoil between interacting worn or badly fitting parts in a mechanism
the play between parts
a sudden and adverse reaction, esp to a political or social developmenta public backlash against the government is inevitable
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 backlashed



1815, of machinery, from back (adj.) + lash (n.). In metaphoric sense, it is attested from 1955.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper