Definition of back-pedal in English:


Line breaks: back-pedal


[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-turnrenege 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).
    More 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).

More definitions of back-pedal

Definition of back-pedal in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day astrogation
Pronunciation: ˌastrə(ʊ)ˈgeɪʃ(ə)n
(in science fiction) navigation in outer space