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backwater

[bak-waw-ter, -wot-er] /ˈbækˌwɔ tər, -ˌwɒt ər/
noun
1.
water held or forced back, as by a dam, flood, or tide.
2.
a place or state of stagnant backwardness:
This area of the country is a backwater that continues to resist progress.
3.
an isolated, peaceful place.
4.
a stroke executed by pushing a paddle forward, causing a canoe to move backward.
Origin
1350-1400
1350-1400; Middle English bakwateres; see back2, water
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for back-water

backwater

/ˈbækˌwɔːtə/
noun
1.
a body of stagnant water connected to a river
2.
water held or driven back, as by a dam, flood, or tide
3.
an isolated, backward, or intellectually stagnant place or condition
verb
4.
(intransitive) to reverse the direction of a boat, esp to push the oars of a rowing boat
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for back-water

backwater

n.

late 14c., "water behind a dam," from back (adj.) + water (n.). Hence flat water without a current near a flowing river, as in a mill race (1820); figurative use of this for any flat, dull place is from 1899.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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