noun Surveying.
  1. a sight on a previously occupied instrument station.
  2. (in leveling) the reading on a rod that is held on a point of known elevation, used in computing the elevation of the instrument.

Origin of backsight

First recorded in 1840–50; back2 + sight Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for backsight

Historical Examples of backsight

  • "Come quick," he shouted, adjusting the backsight of a rifle.

  • The tiny figures seen over the slide of the backsight seemed a little larger, but also fewer at each successive volley.

    The River War

    Winston S. Churchill

British Dictionary definitions for backsight


  1. the sight of a rifle nearer the stock
  2. surveying a reading taken looking backwards to a previously occupied stationCompare foresight (def. 4)
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