adverb Also back·wards.
Origin of backward
Synonyms for backward
Antonyms for backward
- of or relating to the past; conservative or reactionary
- (in combination)backward-looking
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).
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]
In addition to the idiom beginning with backward
- backward and forward
- bend over backward
- fall over (backwards)
- know like a book (backwards and forwards)