back|ward1 [ `bækwərd ] adjective *
1. ) only before noun moving or looking in the direction that is behind you:
a backward glance
2. ) not developing quickly, normally, and successfully:
a remote and backward region
a ) OLD-FASHIONED an offensive word for someone who is unable to make normal progress in learning. It is more polite to say that someone has learning disabilities.
a backward step or a step backward
an action that does not bring progress, but makes the situation as bad as it was in the past:
By cutting expenditure on health care, I feel we are taking a backward step to the bad old days.
╾ back|ward|ness noun uncount
back|ward 2 [ `bækwərd ] adverb **
1. ) in the direction that is behind you:
He was thrown backward by the force of the explosion.
I glanced backward over my shoulder to see if anyone was following me.
a car rolling backward down a hill
2. ) in the opposite way or order from usual:
Count backward from ten to one.
Let's work backward through all the steps in the process so we can see where we went wrong.
a ) with the back part in front:
Your shirt is on backward.
3. ) toward a time in the past:
It's only by looking backward that we can understand how these rivalries developed.
a ) not progressing but changing back to a FORMER worse state:
With these new, weaker pollution controls, the Administration seems to be moving backward.
backward and forward or backwards and forwards
moving first in one direction and then in the opposite direction, and doing this again and again:
Charles began to pace backward and forward, up and down the room.
know something backward and forward
to know something very well
=> BEND1

Usage of the words and phrases in modern English. 2013.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • backward — backward, retrograde, retrogressive, regressive all involve the idea of not moving or going ahead, or forward, or in advance. Only when applied to motion or a movement does backward imply the reverse of forward motion {a backward thrust of a… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • backward — backward, backwards 1. For the adverb, both forms are in use, although backward is somewhat more common in AmE and backwards in BrE: • Talk ran backward from the events of the morning A. Munro, CanE 1987 • I walked backward to look at her in the… …   Modern English usage

  • Backward — Back ward, a. 1. Directed to the back or rear; as, backward glances. [1913 Webster] 2. Unwilling; averse; reluctant; hesitating; loath. [1913 Webster] For wiser brutes were backward to be slaves. Pope. [1913 Webster] 3. Not well advanced in… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Backward — Back ward, Backwards Back wards, adv. [Back, adv. + ward.] 1. With the back in advance or foremost; as, to ride backward. [1913 Webster] 2. Toward the back; toward the rear; as, to throw the arms backward. [1913 Webster] 3. On the back, or with… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • backward — [adj1] toward the rear astern, behind, inverted, rearward, regressive, retrograde; concept 581 Ant. ahead, forward, to the front backward [adj2] bashful afraid, averse, demure, diffident, disinclined, hesitant, hesitating, humble, indisposed,… …   New thesaurus

  • backward — [bak′wərd] adv. [ME bakward, for abakward < abak (< OE on bæc, back) + ward (< OE weard, toward)] 1. toward the back or rear; behind 2. with the back or rear foremost 3. in reverse [to spell a word backward] 4. in a way contrary to the… …   English World dictionary

  • backward — (adv.) c.1300, from abakward, from O.E. on bæc (see BACK (Cf. back) (adv.)) + weard adj./adv. suffix (see WARD (Cf. ward)). O.E. had the adverb bæcling. As an adjective, from 1550s. Meaning behindhand with regard to progress is first attested… …   Etymology dictionary

  • backward — ► ADJECTIVE 1) directed behind or to the rear. 2) having made less progress than is normal or expected. ● not backward in Cf. ↑not backward in DERIVATIVES backwardly adverb backwardness noun …   English terms dictionary

  • Backward — Back ward, n. The state behind or past. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] In the dark backward and abysm of time. Shak. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Backward — Back ward, v. t. To keep back; to hinder. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • backward — I adjective arrested, behindhand, belated, dallying, defected, delayed, delaying, dilatory, impeded, late, mentally deficient, overdue, procrastinating, regressive, retarded, retroactive, retrograde, reversed, slow, subnormal, tardy, untimely II… …   Law dictionary

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