- to shift the carriage or typing element of a typewriter one space backward by depressing a special key.
- Computers. to move the cursor, printhead, etc., toward the beginning of the data.
- the space made by backspacing.
- Also called back·spac·er, backspace key. the labeled key on a typewriter or computer keyboard used for backspacing.
Origin of backspace
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- to move a (typewriter carriage) backwards
- a typewriter key that effects such a movement
Word Origin and History for backspace
We have had the pleasure of examining one of the 1899 model Hammond typewriters, with the new back-space key. This new feature is certainly an improvement in the machine. ["The Phonetic Journal," March 11, 1899]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper