Definition of backpedal in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈbakˌpedl/

verb (backpedals, backpedaling, backpedaled ; British backpedals, backpedalling, backpedalled)

[no object]
1Move the pedals of a bicycle backward in order 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).
1.1Move hastily backward: backpedaling furiously, he flipped a perfect pass
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.
1.2Reverse one’s previous action or opinion: you’ve criticized him for backpedaling on budget reform
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, backtrack, back down, climb down, (do an) about-face, reverse course, do a U-turn, renege, go back (on), back out (of), fail to honor something, withdraw, default (on)

Words that rhyme with backpedal

heddle, medal, meddle, pedal, peddle, treadle

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: back·ped·al

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