[ bak-ped-l ]
/ ˈbækˌpɛd l /

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.


Nearby words

  1. back-load,
  2. back-mutate,
  3. back-order,
  4. back-paddle,
  5. back-patting,
  6. back-seat driver,
  7. back-slapping,
  8. back-stabbing,
  9. back-stitch,
  10. back-street

Origin of back-pedal

First recorded in 1895–1900 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for backpedalling


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