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a backhanded stroke.
Swimming. a stroke made while on one’s back.
a blow or stroke in return; recoil.
Swimming. to swim the backstroke:
She backstroked across the pool.
Contemporary Examples

Watch her steal the show in the 100-meter backstroke Monday.
London Olympics’ Must-See Moments The Daily Beast Video July 31, 2012

Historical Examples

“C” some distance to right of point but on level with “E.” The backstroke of the latter nearly touches the point.
The Die Varieties of the Nesbitt Series of United States Envelopes Victor M. Berthold

A backstroke of Gino’s oar, however, soon brought the side of the arrested boat to a flight of steps.
The Bravo J. Fenimore Cooper

Previously to this, the “backstroke” of the steamboat engine was either unknown or not generally known.
Great Men and Famous Women. Vol. 6 of 8 Various

(swimming) Also called back crawl

a stroke performed on the back, using backward circular strokes of each arm alternately and flipper movements of the feet
(as modifier): the backstroke champion

a return stroke or blow
(mainly US) a backhanded stroke
(bell-ringing) the upward movement of the bell rope as the bell swings back and forth Compare handstroke
(intransitive) to swim the backstroke

1670s, “counter-punch,” from back (adj.) + stroke (n.). From 1876 in swimming, from back (n.).


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  • Back slang

    noun a type of slang in which words are spelled and, as far as possible, pronounced backwards Historical Examples For instance, woman in the back slang is nammow, and nammows is women. The Slang Dictionary John Camden Hotten I’d ha’ run it off into back slang, and ha’ done it most willing and free. Punch, […]

  • Backsword

    a sword with only one sharp edge; broadsword. (formerly) a cudgel having a basket hilt, used in fencing exhibitions. a backswordman. Historical Examples My backsword play hath been thought well of by stout men of war. Micah Clarke Arthur Conan Doyle backsword play: the game of single-stick, or fencing with cudgels. Tom Brown at Rugby […]

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