Share this entry
back-pedal Line breaks: back-pedal
Pronunciation: /ˌbakˈpɛd(ə)l/

Definition of back-pedal in English:


[no object]
1Reverse one’s previous action or opinion: Boyd quickly back-pedalled when asked to explain her suggestion
More example sentences
  • If that sounds like back-pedalling after the inflated self-opinions we're more used to hearing, Noel says not.
  • Nevertheless, the only East European country to sign up has been Romania (and the Romanian government is now back-pedalling, claiming that it was intimidated by Washington).
  • It would appear that, having seen the response to his support of the revised peace plan, he is now frantically back-pedalling in an effort to have everyone love him.
change one's mind, change one's opinion, go into reverse, do an about-face, do a U-turn, row back, shift one's ground, sing a different song, have second thoughts, reconsider, climb down;
British  do an about-turn
renege on, back down on, go back on, back out of, fail to honour, withdraw, backtrack on, row back on, take back, abandon, default on
1.1Move hastily backwards: Cook forced the goalkeeper to back-pedal and push a shot over the bar
More example sentences
  • As the Frenchman back-pedals furiously, the ball lands on the roof of the goal.
  • He tried to back-pedal, but his ankle turned and he fell.
  • As those in front saw what he was waving in his right hand, they tried to back-pedal, but their escape was blocked by other nosy people coming up behind them.
2Move the pedals of a bicycle backwards (formerly to brake).
Example sentences
  • She back-pedaled to brake as she approached them.
  • The main difference between mine and the one pictured above is that mine doesn't have hand brakes (you have to back pedal to brake, just like on a training bike) and on the back, it has a snazzy pair of hot pink saddle bags (waterproof of course).
  • Remember, back-pedal to brake (counter-intuitive to my brain I think, but I managed).
Definition of back-pedal in:
Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Related Words