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backward

[bak-werd] /ˈbæk wərd/
adverb, Also, backwards
1.
toward the back or rear.
2.
with the back foremost.
3.
in the reverse of the usual or right way:
counting backward from 100.
4.
toward the past:
to look backward over one's earlier mistakes.
5.
toward a less advanced state; retrogressively:
Since the overthrow of the president the country has moved steadily backward.
adjective
6.
directed toward the back or past.
7.
reversed; returning:
a backward movement; a backward journey.
8.
behind in time or progress; late; slow:
a backward learner; a backward country.
9.
bashful or hesitant; shy:
a backward lover.
Idioms
10.
backward and forward, thoroughly:
He knew his lesson backward and forward.
Also, backwards and forwards.
Origin
1250-1300
1250-1300; Middle English bakwarde. See back1, -ward
Related forms
backwardly, adverb
backwardness, noun
unbackward, adjective
Synonyms
8. tardy; retarded, underdeveloped. 9. disinclined; timid, retiring.
Antonyms
1. forward.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for backward
  • Factually, one can slow down time, but the speculation about going backward in time is premature.
  • The rear half of the skull consisted of a bony crest that grew straight backward.
  • But this is certainly not to say that vicious, backward, human-rights-abusing dictatorships are in general good for growth.
  • The seat can face forward or backward, and it angles to recline in five different positions, including prone when rear-facing.
  • Walk around while seeing the world upside down and backward.
  • Two decades later, the government-bond market is big but backward.
  • His conviction represented a huge backward step for science, as well as a harrowing ordeal for him and his estranged family.
  • Sometimes you have to go backward before you can clearly see how to move forward.
  • Evolutionary biologists have long wondered if history can run backward.
  • Here was proof that the civil-rights movement had not gone backward.
British Dictionary definitions for backward

backward

/ˈbækwəd/
adjective
1.
(usually prenominal) directed towards the rear a backward glance
2.
retarded in physical, material, or intellectual development backward countries, a backward child
3.
  1. of or relating to the past; conservative or reactionary
  2. (in combination) backward-looking
4.
reluctant or bashful a backward lover
5.
(chess) (of a pawn) behind neighbouring pawns and unable to be supported by them
adverb
6.
a variant of backwards
Derived Forms
backwardly, adverb
backwardness, noun

backwards

/ˈbækwədz/
adverb
1.
towards the rear
2.
with the back foremost
3.
in the reverse of usual order or direction
4.
to or towards the past
5.
into a worse state the patient was slipping backwards
6.
towards the point of origin
7.
(informal) bend over backwards, lean over backwards, fall over backwards, to make a special effort, esp in order to please
8.
(informal) know backwards, to understand completely
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 backward
adv.

c.1300, from abakward, from Old English on bæc (see back (adv.)) + -weard adjectival and adverbial suffix (see -ward). Old English had the adverb bæcling. As an adjective, from 1550s. Meaning "behindhand with regard to progress" is first attested 1690s. To ring bells backward (from lowest to highest), c.1500, was a signal of alarm for fire or invasion, or to express dismay. Another Middle English word for "backward, wrongly" was arseward (c.1400).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with backward
In addition to the idiom beginning with
backward
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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