[ feed-bak ]
See synonyms for feedback on
  1. Electronics.

    • the process of returning part of the output of a circuit, system, or device to the input, either to oppose the input (negative feedback ) or to aid the input (positive feedback ).

  2. the furnishing of data concerning the operation or output of a machine to an automatic control device or to the machine itself, so that subsequent or ongoing operations of the machine can be altered or corrected.

  1. a reaction or response to a particular process or activity: He got very little feedback from his speech.

  2. evaluative information derived from such a reaction or response: to study the feedback from an audience survey.

  3. Psychology. knowledge of the results of any behavior, considered as influencing or modifying further performance.: Compare biofeedback.

  4. Biology. a self-regulatory biological system, as in the synthesis of some hormones, in which the output or response affects the input, either positively or negatively.

Origin of feedback

First recorded in 1915–20; noun use of verb phrase feed back

Words Nearby feedback Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use feedback in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for feedback


/ (ˈfiːdˌbæk) /

    • the return of part of the output of an electronic circuit, device, or mechanical system to its input, so modifying its characteristics. In negative feedback a rise in output energy reduces the input energy; in positive feedback an increase in output energy reinforces the input energy

    • that part of the output signal fed back into the input

  1. the return of part of the sound output by a loudspeaker to the microphone or pick-up so that a high-pitched whistle is produced

  1. the whistling noise so produced

    • the effect of the product of a biological pathway on the rate of an earlier step in that pathway

    • the substance or reaction causing such an effect, such as the release of a hormone in a biochemical pathway

  2. information in response to an inquiry, experiment, etc: there was little feedback from our questionnaire

verb, adverbfeed back
  1. (tr) to return (part of the output of a system) to its input

  2. to offer or suggest (information, ideas, etc) in reaction to an inquiry, experiment, etc

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

Scientific definitions for feedback


[ fēdbăk′ ]

  1. The supply of an input to some process or system as a function of its output. See more at negative feedback positive feedback.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for feedback


A process in which a system regulates itself by monitoring its own output. That is, it “feeds back” part of its output to itself. Feedback is used to control machines; a heating system, for example, uses a thermostat to monitor and adjust its output. Feedback is also used by the human brain to control various muscles and joints.

Notes for feedback

By extension, “feedback” is any response or information about the result of a process.

Notes for feedback

Feedback is usually a feature of automation.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.