Dictionary.com

backwater

[ bak-waw-ter, -wot-er ]
/ ˈbækˌwɔ tər, -ˌwɒt ər /
Save This Word!

noun

water held or forced back, as by a dam, flood, or tide.
a place or state of stagnant backwardness: This area of the country is a backwater that continues to resist progress.
an isolated, peaceful place.
a stroke executed by pushing a paddle forward, causing a canoe to move backward.

QUIZZES

THINK YOU’VE GOT A HANDLE ON THIS US STATE NICKNAME QUIZ?

Did you ever collect all those state quarters? Put them to good use on this quiz about curious state monikers and the facts around them.
Question 1 of 8
Mississippi’s nickname comes from the magnificent trees that grow there. What is it?

Origin of backwater

1350–1400; Middle English bakwateres;see back2, water
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for backwater

British Dictionary definitions for backwater

backwater
/ (ˈbækˌwɔːtə) /

noun

a body of stagnant water connected to a river
water held or driven back, as by a dam, flood, or tide
an isolated, backward, or intellectually stagnant place or condition

verb back water

(intr) to reverse the direction of a boat, esp to push the oars of a rowing boat
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

Idioms and Phrases with backwater

back water

Reverse a position, take back a statement, or otherwise retreat, as in We're sure that the senator will back water on raising taxes. This term literally refers to a vessel that moves backward in the water because its oars, paddles, or paddlewheel are reversed. It soon was transferred to other kinds of reversal. [Second half of 1700s]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
See Today's Synonym