a sudden, forceful backward movement; recoil.
a strong or violent reaction, as to some social or political change: a backlash of angry feeling among Southern conservatives within the party.
the space between the thickness of a gear tooth and the width of the space between teeth in the mating gear, designed to allow for a film of lubricant, binding from heat expansion and eccentricity, or manufacturing inaccuracies.
play or lost motion between loosely fitting machine parts.
Angling. a snarled line on a reel, usually caused by a faulty cast.
verb (used without object)
to make or undergo a backlash.

1805–15; back2 + lash1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
backlash (ˈbækˌlæʃ)
1.  a reaction or recoil between interacting worn or badly fitting parts in a mechanism
2.  the play between parts
3.  a sudden and adverse reaction, esp to a political or social development: a public backlash against the government is inevitable

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1815, of machinery, from back (adj.) + lash. In metaphoric sense, it is attested from 1921.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
In many instances today, there is a negative backlash against the faculty.
Unless a solution is found to sluggish real wages and rising inequality, there
  is a serious risk of a protectionist backlash.
Some native groups fear the repercussions of a renewed backlash against the
  harp seal harvest.
Other researchers worry that this casual approach to disclosure could create a
  backlash against the technology.
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