- 1 [attributive] Directed behind or to the rear: she left the room without a backward glance a gradual backward movementMore example sentences
- The real giveaway is the female's hidden pouch, albeit backward opening, for rearing its young.
- Alvin slapped the door shut behind him with a backward scrape of his heel, to muffle the shouting from the neighbors, and sidled along the wall away from her.
- The fur naps to the rear, thus sliding forward and resisting backward movement.
- 1.1Looking toward the past, rather than being progressive; retrograde: he said the decision was a backward stepMore example sentences
- It's not my kind of place at all - plus it would feel somewhat like a backward step, a retrograde manoeuvre, a return to a place of history.
- Given this trend, it is a backward step to talk about ‘producing’ children who could never have an experience of living with both their birth parents.
- A lot of good work has been done but this is a backward step.
- 2Having made less than normal progress: economically backward countriesMore example sentences
underdeveloped, undeveloped; primitive, unsophisticated, benighted
- The Scandinavian monarchies were transformed from poor and rather backward societies into prosperous agricultural democracies.
- A progressive president and a backward parliament rarely go well together.
- The first one suggests that the backward economies can make rapid progress by imitating the leaders.
- 2.1 • dated or • offensive (Of a person) having learning difficulties: a lively child but a bit backwardMore example sentences
- The parents in this film are not the cliche and are not those backward people who scream and say don't go out.
- But the number of these backward people was steadily decreasing.
- But we in the Western society have called them primitive, as backward people, that we need to come and somehow or other educate.
adverb(also backwards) Back to top
- 1(Of a movement) away from one’s front; in the direction of one’s back: he took a step backward Harry suddenly fell backward into a somersaultMore example sentences
- Adam turned to Joe to form a united front, but found that Joe had taken a step backward and was now suddenly very interested in attending to a stirrup.
- Yolinda spins around and sort of falls backward.
- Suddenly, she heard a shout and saw her brother fall backward.
- 1.1In reverse of the usual direction or order: counting backward baseball caps turned backwardMore example sentences
- Daniel turned his ball cap backward and leaned forward to sight his target through the scope.
- He turned his hat backward and snapped shots of his teammates warming up.
- If a player turns his hat backward, he's not trying to make a cultural statement.
- 2Toward or into the past: a loving look backward at his early lifeMore example sentences
- He says that she has heard him speak in High German, Akkadian, and Aramaic which Peter interprets as his going backward through many past lives.
- History never moves backward, and the past never returns.
- Frantically, he thought backward toward the night before.
- 2.1Toward or into a worse state: a giant step backward for child-centered educationMore example sentences
- There may well be sound reasons for doing so, but camps neglect to inform the nurse who, in turn, feels as though health promotion has just taken a giant step backward.
- All told, it appears that marooned on this jungle island, humanity took a giant step backward to survive.
- But I was to learn that every step forward by the accounting industry was followed by a giant step backward.
backward and forward
- In both directions alternately; to and fro.More example sentences
- But 2002 was also a year in which careers suddenly moved backward and forward as if reputations were determined by a spin of the wheel in an old-time children's board game.
- These circuit-controlled devices change shape when you apply a voltage to them, which causes the robot to maneuver backward and forward.
- The men could bend backward and forward, and when they pulled hard, the woman was suspended in mid-air.
bend (or lean) over backward to do something
- • informal Make every effort, especially to be fair or helpful: Jensen bent over backward to be fairMore example sentences
- Unfortunatly, when covering such stories newspapers feel they have to bend over backward to be fair to both sides.
- I am very tolerant, very fair and I'll bend over backward to put right something I know to be my fault.
- With such a flimsy case presented by the plaintiffs, the judge would have had to bend over backward to accept this as a class action, and that's just what he did.
know something backward (and forward)
- Be entirely familiar with something.More example sentences
- Without the parameters of a micro-scene to guide you, the DJ has to know his records backward and forward to understand how pieces cut from different saws might snap together.
- My first mistake, I quickly learned, had been assuming that the secret to a successful interview was to know your subject matter backward and forward.
- Keep repeating this process until you know the material backward and forward.
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- These horns are erect and consist of two branches or prongs, a short branch extending forward and located around halfway up the horn, and a longer, backwardly directed tip.
- That's right, this baby is backwardly compatible!
- However, they're early Alphas, which were the most backwardly compatible.
- More example sentences
- It is fuelled by the social backwardness of centuries.
- Clinical psychologists would identify teenagers with problems such as learning backwardness, etc.
- While commenting on the reasons of backwardness in specific sections of our country the commentator has not analysed the problems exactly.
Middle English: from earlier abackward, from aback.
In US English, the adverb form is sometimes spelled backwards ( the ladder fell backwards ), but the adjective is almost always backward ( a backward glance ). Directional words using the suffix -ward tend to have no s ending in US English, although backwards is more common than afterwards , towards , or forwards . The s ending often (but not always) appears in the phrases backwards and forwards and bending over backwards . In British English, the spelling backwards is more common than backward.