Backward



toward the back or rear.
with the back foremost.
in the reverse of the usual or right way:
counting backward from 100.
toward the past:
to look backward over one’s earlier mistakes.
toward a less advanced state; retrogressively:
Since the overthrow of the president the country has moved steadily backward.
directed toward the back or past.
reversed; returning:
a backward movement; a backward journey.
behind in time or progress; late; slow:
a backward learner; a backward country.
bashful or hesitant; shy:
a backward lover.
backward and forward, thoroughly:
He knew his lesson backward and forward.
Also, backwards and forwards.
Contemporary Examples

Some Negroes, who see every action in terms of moving the ethnic group forward or pushing it backward, were highly irritated.
What Was Venus Thinking? Stanley Crouch May 28, 2010

A backward step upon an uneven cobblestone suddenly returns him to a visit he made to Venice when his mother was still alive.
David’s Bookclub: Time Regained David Frum April 7, 2013

It’s futuristic—but it’s also backward, charges Mack Tight, the self-described “pickup artist” who runs ESeduce.com.
Skin in Your Inbox Anneli Rufus November 4, 2010

Coupled with Romney exuding a belief that this is a country that can still move forward, not backward.
Buzz Bissinger on Being Savaged by the Liberal Media After Backing Mitt Romney Buzz Bissinger October 10, 2012

Our theme was tough times, tough decisions, moving forward not backward.
Martin O’Malley Tests the Democratic Convention Waters—for 2016 Howard Kurtz September 3, 2012

Historical Examples

The same phenomenon presents itself to-day in backward and semi-barbaric communities.
German Culture Past and Present Ernest Belfort Bax

The master of the Polly seized Mayo’s legs and yanked him backward to the deck.
Blow The Man Down Holman Day

Every one knew also that Katie felt for the backward girls and those who were slow and dull.
Catherine Booth Mildred Duff

But the horse now refused to go in any direction, backward or forward.
Roosevelt in the Bad Lands H. Hagedorn.

He goes into the forest with a backward look; he comes out of the forest sometimes with a secret and a stricken countenance.
Atlantic Classics, Second Series Henry C. Merwin

adjective
(usually prenominal) directed towards the rear: a backward glance
retarded in physical, material, or intellectual development: backward countries, a backward child

of or relating to the past; conservative or reactionary
(in combination): backward-looking

reluctant or bashful: a backward lover
(chess) (of a pawn) behind neighbouring pawns and unable to be supported by them
adverb
a variant of backwards
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).
In addition to the idiom beginning with
backward

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    toward the back or rear. with the back foremost. in the reverse of the usual or right way: counting backward from 100. toward the past: to look backward over one’s earlier mistakes. toward a less advanced state; retrogressively: Since the overthrow of the president the country has moved steadily backward. directed toward the back or […]

  • Backwards

    toward the back or rear. with the back foremost. in the reverse of the usual or right way: counting backward from 100. toward the past: to look backward over one’s earlier mistakes. toward a less advanced state; retrogressively: Since the overthrow of the president the country has moved steadily backward. directed toward the back or […]



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