verb (used without object), back·stroked, back·strok·ing.
  1. Swimming. to swim the backstroke: She backstroked across the pool.

Origin of backstroke

First recorded in 1665–75; back2 + stroke1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for backstroke

Contemporary Examples of backstroke

Historical Examples of backstroke

British Dictionary definitions for backstroke


  1. Also called: back crawl swimming
    1. a stroke performed on the back, using backward circular strokes of each arm alternately and flipper movements of the feet
    2. (as modifier)the backstroke champion
  2. a return stroke or blow
  3. mainly US a backhanded stroke
  4. bell-ringing the upward movement of the bell rope as the bell swings back and forthCompare handstroke
  1. (intr) to swim the backstroke
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 backstroke

1670s, "counter-punch," from back (adj.) + stroke (n.). From 1876 in swimming, from back (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper