- 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 backwards
Since bandwidth has become reasonable, paying extra for it feels like a backwards move.Porn Fights For Your Right to Surf: Pornhub, YouPorn, and Redtube Lead Charge For Net Neutrality
September 13, 2014
In the search for an alternative, both writers looked not forward, but backwards.In the Future We'll All Be Renters: America's Disappearing Middle Class
August 10, 2014
Speaking up about this backwards philosophy is actually how she got the gig.Who’s That ‘Bum’ Girl? The Brit Telling Americans How To Wipe Their Asses
June 16, 2014
People are jumping forwards and backwards, and the results are haunting and moving.The making-of-the-video is worth a watch.Zooey Deschanel & More of the Best Music Videos of the Week (VIDEO)
May 25, 2013
Kerry responded that Peres had it backwards: this was a matter of the parties' agency.Kerry's Peace Push A Nothing-Burger?
May 24, 2013
Up and down, backwards and forwards, inside and out, and all hands around.A Woman Tenderfoot
Grace Gallatin Seton-Thompson
Steps which move forwards or backwards, shall be taken to be in the fourth Position.
There are three ways of doing this, forwards, backwards, and sideways.
He knew them, he would have informed you, backwards and forwards.The Innocent Adventuress
Mary Hastings Bradley
And unless we secure it, there will be only a march backwards.Another Sheaf
- towards the rear
- with the back foremost
- in the reverse of usual order or direction
- to or towards the past
- into a worse statethe patient was slipping backwards
- towards the point of origin
- bend over backwards, lean over backwards or fall over backwards informal to make a special effort, esp in order to please
- know backwards informal to understand completely
- (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 backwards
1510s, from backward with adverbial genitive. Figurative phrase bend over backwards is recorded from 1901.
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 backwards
In addition to the idiom beginning with backward
- backward and forward
- bend over backward
- fall over (backwards)
- know like a book (backwards and forwards)