Definition of backwater in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈbakwɔːtə/


1A part of a river not reached by the current, where the water is stagnant: the eels inhabit backwaters
More example sentences
  • They inhabit swift streams, the backwaters of large rivers, brackish lagoons, and potholes.
  • Suddenly, without warning, water came at them from two sides - the sea on one side, and stagnant, filthy water from a backwater on the other.
  • Habitat of the shornosed gar includes lakes, swamps, and the calm pools and backwaters of creeks and rivers.
1.1An isolated or peaceful place: nothing spoils the tranquillity of this quiet backwater
More example sentences
  • It's an unassuming place from the street, a quiet backwater in a Wellington suburb.
  • While portrayed in bourgeois European circles as a peaceful backwater of the English Channel, Jersey's true origins are of conquest and domination.
  • Europe had become a quiet backwater of the world.
1.2A place or situation in which no development or progress is taking place: the country remained an economic backwater
More example sentences
  • The north cannot continue as an economic backwater.
  • In the wake of his work, and that of his fellow mango gangsters, Miami has progressed from a culinary backwater to one of America's top 10 gastro-cities.
  • Once an economic backwater, the country was dubbed ‘the Celtic Tiger’ in the 1990s as business took off.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: back|water

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.