Backwards and forwards



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.
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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