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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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British Dictionary definitions for backwards and forwards

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
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 backwards and forwards

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 backwards and forwards

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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21
23
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