Definition of backtrack in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈbakˌtrak/


1 [no object] Retrace one’s steps: she had to bypass two closer farms and backtrack to them later figurative to backtrack a little, the case is a complex one
More example sentences
  • No one can make up their minds what to do, and then when they finally do, they end up backtracking, retracing their steps, and returning to the scene of the previous puzzlement to more or less complete the vacuous cycle.
  • When we graduate from high school most of us don't know where we are going to end up-we make U-turns, take forward steps, backtrack, travel and reinvent ourselves several times along the way.
  • Summer backtracked about two steps and then held open the door for her, revealing what looked to be a large public lounge and restroom, complete with about five stalls and a leather sofa, in a private home.
1.1Reverse one’s previous action or opinion: the unions have had to backtrack on their demands
More example sentences
  • Consumers get incredibly upset when dieticians and researchers backtrack on previous findings, proclaiming that products once deemed healthy are now in question.
  • The election manifesto of her Christian Democratic Union party, due next week, is expected to backtrack on promises to slash state handouts and modernise the country.
  • I wonder if Labour will backtrack on its tax policy and increase the brackets for income tax thresholds after learning of this poll - when your own base support is demanding change then you know you are in trouble.
backpedal, change one's mind, back down, reverse course, about-face, climb down
2 [with object] US Pursue, trace, or monitor: he was able to backtrack the buck to a ridge nearby
More example sentences
  • Based on their observations, Henry and his colleagues were able to backtrack the Abell 754 collision to its two constituent galaxy clusters, with one smaller than the other.
  • They'd been able to backtrack the entire affair, all the way back to a really good picture of Kayla swiping the vials of aphrodisiac.
  • Because there were no other lynx tracks in the area, I was able to backtrack the lynx to the site where the deer was first attacked.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: back·track

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