- toward the back or rear.
- with the back foremost.
- in the reverse of the usual or right way: counting backward from 100.
- toward the past: to look backward over one's earlier mistakes.
- toward a less advanced state; retrogressively: Since the overthrow of the president the country has moved steadily backward.
- directed toward the back or past.
- reversed; returning: a backward movement; a backward journey.
- behind in time or progress; late; slow: a backward learner; a backward country.
- bashful or hesitant; shy: a backward lover.
- backward and forward, thoroughly: He knew his lesson backward and forward.Also backwards and forwards.
Origin of backward
SynonymsSee more synonyms for backward on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for backwardness
To some, this will look like progress, a move away from the backwardness of rural life.Tibet’s Ticking Time Bomb
January 18, 2014
It gives you the sense of the forwardness of history as well as the backwardness.Archbishop Pitches on Youtube For More Souls As He Prepares To Christen George
October 22, 2013
A palpable desolation—and the feeling of what the Chinese call luohou, or backwardness—hangs in the air.Ghosts in the Machine: The Story of China’s Rural Migrants and Their Uncertain Future
December 10, 2012
Anne had no backwardness in believing now, the deed was so exactly Lydia's.The Prisoner
The backwardness of England in education used to make him wring his hands.War Letters of a Public-School Boy
He scarcely shares my hopes, but he shows no signs of backwardness.Sir Brook Fossbrooke, Volume II.
Charles James Lever
No latsummes (backwardness, reluctance) was in him when once fully set.In Convent Walls
Emily Sarah Holt
On his side there is no backwardness now; on hers no coyness, no mock modesty.The Death Shot
- (usually prenominal) directed towards the reara backward glance
- retarded in physical, material, or intellectual developmentbackward countries; a backward child
- of or relating to the past; conservative or reactionary
- (in combination)backward-looking
- reluctant or bashfula backward lover
- chess (of a pawn) behind neighbouring pawns and unable to be supported by them
- a variant of backwards
Word Origin and History for backwardness
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 backwardness
In addition to the idiom beginning with backward
- backward and forward
- bend over backward
- fall over (backwards)
- know like a book (backwards and forwards)