9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[bak-speys] /ˈbækˌspeɪs/
verb (used without object), backspaced, backspacing.
to shift the carriage or typing element of a typewriter one space backward by depressing a special key.
Computers. to move the cursor, printhead, etc., toward the beginning of the data.
the space made by backspacing.
Also called backspacer, backspace key. the labeled key on a typewriter or computer keyboard used for backspacing.
Origin of backspace
back2 + space Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for backspace
  • He almost never uses the backspace, delete, or cut-and-paste keys.
  • The backspace key is woefully undersized, and for some reason it did not always work properly when held down.
  • While you master it, you will probably be glad for the oversized backspace key.
  • Learn to correct mistakes without staring at the backspace key.
  • Use your mouse to place cursor at the end of this line, then use the backspace key to delete this text and begin typing.
  • It will then backspace to the previous line and read the variable names from that line.
  • Forward space or backspace the printing of data in a specific queue.
British Dictionary definitions for backspace


to move a (typewriter carriage) backwards
a typewriter key that effects such a movement
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 backspace

also back-space, 1899, in reference to keyboarding, from back (adv.) + space.

We have had the pleasure of examining one of the 1899 model Hammond typewriters, with the new back-space key. This new feature is certainly an improvement in the machine. ["The Phonetic Journal," March 11, 1899]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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backspace in Technology

(BS) ASCII code 8, Control-H. The control character that should cause most output devices to move their current output position back to the previous character so that the next character output will replace (or overprint) it. Inputting a backspace (typically by pressing the backspace key) causes many systems to delete the character before the input cursor, though others use delete for this.
See twirling baton for an imaginitive use of backspace.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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