adverb Also back·wards.
Origin of backward
British Dictionary definitions for backward and forward
- of or relating to the past; conservative or reactionary
- (in combination)backward-looking
Word Origin and History for backward and forward
c.1300, from abakward, from Old English on bæc (see back (adv.)) + -weard adjectival and adverbial suffix (see -ward). Old English had the adverb bæcling. As an adjective, from 1550s. Meaning "behindhand with regard to progress" is first attested 1690s. To ring bells backward (from lowest to highest), c.1500, was a signal of alarm for fire or invasion, or to express dismay. Another Middle English word for "backward, wrongly" was arseward (c.1400).
Idioms and Phrases with backward and forward (1 of 2)
backward and forward
Also, backwards and forwards.
Same as back and forth.
Thoroughly, completely, as in He read the speech over and over, until he knew it backwards and forwards. [Late 1500s]
Idioms and Phrases with backward and forward (2 of 2)
In addition to the idiom beginning with backward
- backward and forward
- bend over backward
- fall over (backwards)
- know like a book (backwards and forwards)