What does backward mean?

Definitions for backward
ˈbæk wərdback·ward

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word backward.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. backwardadjective

    directed or facing toward the back or rear

    "a backward view"

  2. backwardadjective

    (used of temperament or behavior) marked by a retiring nature

    "a backward lover"

  3. backward, half-witted, slow-witted, feeblemindedadjective

    retarded in intellectual development

  4. backwardadverb

    having made less than normal progress

    "an economically backward country"

  5. back, backward, backwards, rearward, rearwardsadverb

    at or to or toward the back or rear

    "he moved back"; "tripped when he stepped backward"; "she looked rearward out the window of the car"

  6. backward, backwardsadverb

    in a manner or order or direction the reverse of normal

    "it's easy to get the `i' and the `e' backward in words like `seize' and `siege'"; "the child put her jersey on backward"

  7. back, backwardadverb

    in or to or toward a past time

    "set the clocks back an hour"; "never look back"; "lovers of the past looking fondly backward"


  1. backwardadverb

    In the direction towards the back; backwards

  2. backwardadjective

    Pertaining to the direction towards the back.

  3. backwardadjective

    Pertaining to the direction reverse of normal.

    The occasional backward movement of planets is evidence they revolve around the sun.

  4. backwardadjective

    Reluctant or unable to advance.

  5. backwardadjective

    Of a culture considered undeveloped or unsophisticated.

  6. backwardadjective

    Pertaining to a thought or value that is considered outdated.

  7. backwardadjective

    On that part of the field behind the batsman's popping crease.

  8. backwardadjective

    Further behind the batsman's popping crease than something else.

  9. Etymology: From abakward (from on bæc + -weard).

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Backwardadjective

    Cities laid waste, they storm’d the dens and caves;
    For wiser brutes are backward to be slaves. Alexander Pope.

    We are strangely backward to lay hold of this safe, this only method of cure. Francis Atterbury.

    Our mutability makes the friends of our nation backward to engage with us in alliances. Joseph Addison, Freeholder.

    All things are ready, if our minds be so;
    Perish the man, whose mind is backward now. William Shakespeare, H. V.

    The mind is backward to undergo the fatigue of weighing every argument. Isaac Watts, Improvement of the Mind.

    It often falls out, that the backward learner makes amends another way. South.

  2. Backward, Backwardsadverb

    Etymology: from back and weard, Sax. that is, towards the back.

    They went backward, and their faces were backward. Gen. ix.

    In leaping with weights, the arms are first cast backwards, and then forwards, with so much the greater force; for the hands go backward before they take their rise. Francis Bacon, Nat. H.

    Then darting from her malignant eyes,
    She cast him backward as he strove to rise. John Dryden, Æneid.

    We might have met them dareful, beard to beard,
    And beat them backward home. William Shakespeare, Macbeth.

    The monstrous sight
    Struck them with horrour backward; but far worse
    Urg’d them behind. John Milton, Paradise Lost, b. vi.

    Are not the rays of light, in passing by the edges and sides of bodies, bent several times backwards and forwards with a motion like that of an eel? Isaac Newton, Opticks.

    To prove the possibility of a thing, there is no argument to that which looks backwards; for what has been done or suffered, may certainly be done or suffered again. South.

    No, doubtless; for the mind can backward cast
    Upon herself, her understanding light. John Davies.

    The work went backward; and the more he strove
    T’ advance the suit, the farther from her love. Dryden.

    They have spread one of the worst languages in the world, if we look upon it some reigns backwards. John Locke.

    I never yet saw man,
    But she would spell him backward; if fair-fac’d,
    She’d swear the gentleman should be her sister;
    If black, why, nature, drawing of an antick,
    Made a foul blot; if tall, a launce ill-headed. William Shakespeare, Much ado about Nothing.

  3. Backwardnoun

    The things or state behind or past.

    What seest thou else
    In the dark backward or abysm of time? William Shakespeare, Tempest.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Backwardadverb

    alt. of Backwards

  2. Backwardadjective

    directed to the back or rear; as, backward glances

  3. Backwardadjective

    unwilling; averse; reluctant; hesitating; loath

  4. Backwardadjective

    not well advanced in learning; not quick of apprehension; dull; inapt; as, a backward child

  5. Backwardadjective

    late or behindhand; as, a backward season

  6. Backwardadjective

    not advanced in civilization; undeveloped; as, the country or region is in a backward state

  7. Backwardadjective

    already past or gone; bygone

  8. Backwardnoun

    the state behind or past

  9. Backwardverb

    to keep back; to hinder

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Backward

    bak′ward, adv. towards the back: on the back: towards the past: from a better to a worse state: in a direction opposite to the normal—also Back′wards.—adj. Back′ward, keeping back: unwilling: slow: late: dull or stupid.—n. the past portion of time.—n. Back′wardation, percentage paid by a seller of stock for keeping back its delivery till the following account.—adv. Back′wardly.—n. Back′wardness.—Backward and forward, to and fro.—To ring bells backward, to ring them, beginning with the bass bell, in order to give tidings of dismay. [Back, and affix Ward, Wards, in the direction of.]

Anagrams for backward »

  1. drawback

  2. draw back

How to pronounce backward?

How to say backward in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of backward in Chaldean Numerology is: 3

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of backward in Pythagorean Numerology is: 9

Examples of backward in a Sentence

  1. Bob Reish:

    Challenges can either knock us backward, or be used as a step toward our goals. We choose the direction!

  2. Lewis Carroll:

    It's a poor sort of memory that only works backward.

  3. Victor Hugo:

    So different are the colours of life, as we look forward to the future, or backward to the past and so different the opinions and sentiments which this contrariety of appearance naturally produces, that the conversation of the old and young ends generally with contempt or pity on either side.

  4. Chuck Schumer:

    To lavish them (corporations) with huge tax breaks and ask the middle class to bear the cost—that’s about as backward as it gets.

  5. Senior Officer Deon Joseph:

    When I first got there, it was horrible -- you'd have people walking into the station with their intestines hanging out, arms broken backward, black eyes, and they didn't want a police report, they just wanted to hide from their attackers.

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Translations for backward

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • изостанал, назад, обратноBulgarian
  • enrereCatalan, Valencian
  • vzad, zpátky, dozaduCzech
  • antiquiert, zurück, rückwärtsgewandt, zurückgeblieben, altmodisch, gehemmt, nach hinten, überholt, rückständig, unterentwickelt, rückwärts, zurückgewandt, zögerlichGerman
  • οπισθοδρομικός, παλιομοδίτικος, πίσω, ανάποδος, υπανάπτυκτοςGreek
  • atrasado, rezagado, retrógrado, anticuado, pasado de modaSpanish
  • takapajuinen, saamaton, vanhanaikainen, takaperin, taaksepäin, alikehittynyt, syrjäänvetäytyvä, taantumuksellinen, takaperoinen, päinvastainen, peruuttaaFinnish
  • en arrière, arriéré, sous-développéFrench
  • mundur ke belakangIndonesian
  • 後方, 後ろJapanese
  • دواکه‌وتوKurdish
  • whakamuriMāori
  • achteruitDutch
  • archaiczny, do tyłu, tył, przestarzały, z powrotemPolish
  • atrasado, retrógradoPortuguese
  • înapoi, către spate, spre-napoi, îndărăt, regresivRomanian
  • назад, обратно, обратный, отсталый, заднийRussian
  • bakom, bakåt, baklänges, bakåtsträvandeSwedish
  • patalikodTagalog
  • geriyeTurkish
  • پسماندہUrdu
  • 落後Chinese

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    prevent from being seen or discovered
    • A. conform
    • B. conceal
    • C. moan
    • D. acclaim

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