verb (used without object)

to return over the same course or route.
to withdraw from an undertaking, position, etc.; reverse a policy.

Origin of backtrack

An Americanism dating back to 1715–25; back2 + track Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for backtrack

Contemporary Examples of backtrack

Historical Examples of backtrack

  • To-morrow I'll sell the grub and backtrack to the coast to guard it.

    The Trail of a Sourdough

    May Kellogg Sullivan

  • Loring realized he had made a mistake and tried to backtrack.

    Danger in Deep Space

    Carey Rockwell

  • Following their backtrack through the forest, therefore, they proceeded towards the place where they had left their horses.


    Mayne Reid

British Dictionary definitions for backtrack


verb (intr)

to return by the same route by which one has come
to retract or reverse one's opinion, action, policy, etc
Derived Formsbacktracking, noun
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 backtrack

"retrace one's steps," figuratively, by 1896, from literal sense, with reference to hunted foxes, from back (adv.) + track (v.). Related: Backtracked; backtracking.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper