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 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

And once civil divorce has been achieved, as backwards as it seems, then maybe civil marriage will follow.
A Toast To Gay Divorce In Israel Brian Schaefer December 5, 2012

“I’ll never forget the time I sent a model down the runway with her shirt on backwards,” he says.
Backstage at Vera Wang Isabel Wilkinson September 13, 2010

He had the casual demeanor of a surfer, with blond hair and a backwards baseball cap.
In Florida, It’s Often Shoot First, Learn The Law Later Aram Roston May 16, 2012

Speaking up about this backwards philosophy is actually how she got the gig.
Who’s That ‘Bum’ Girl? The Brit Telling Americans How To Wipe Their Asses Sara Lieberman June 15, 2014

Since bandwidth has become reasonable, paying extra for it feels like a backwards move.
Porn Fights For Your Right to Surf: Pornhub, YouPorn, and Redtube Lead Charge For Net Neutrality Aurora Snow September 12, 2014

Historical Examples

Yes, here were a pair of ruts leading off backwards at a tangent.
Across America by Motor-cycle C. K. Shepherd

There are three ways of doing this, forwards, backwards, and sideways.
Orchesography John Weaver

All this time he was tilting poor Pip backwards till he was dreadfully frightened and giddy.
Charles Dickens’ Children Stories Charles Dickens

And unless we secure it, there will be only a march backwards.
Another Sheaf John Galsworthy

“You would be much more foolish throwing it backwards and forwards and not catching anything,” remarked the laird.
Norman Vallery W.H.G. Kingston

adverb
towards the rear
with the back foremost
in the reverse of usual order or direction
to or towards the past
into a worse state: the patient was slipping backwards
towards the point of origin
(informal) bend over backwards, lean over backwards, fall over backwards, to make a special effort, esp in order to please
(informal) know backwards, to understand completely
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.

1510s, from backward with adverbial genitive. Figurative phrase bend over backwards is recorded from 1901.
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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