Definition of backward in English:

backward

See synonyms for backward

Translate backward into Spanish

adjective

  • 1Directed behind or to the rear.

    ‘she left the room without a backward glance’
    • ‘a gradual backward movement’
    1. 1.1Looking toward the past, rather than being progressive; retrograde.
      • ‘he said the decision was a backward step’
  • 2Having made less than normal progress.

    • ‘economically backward countries’
    1. 2.1 dated, offensive (of a person) having an intellectual disability.

Pronunciation

backward

/ˈbakwərd/ /ˈbækwərd/

adverb

(also backwards)
  • 1(of a movement) away from one's front; in the direction of one's back.

    ‘he took a step backward’
    • ‘Harry suddenly fell backward into a somersault’
    1. 1.1In reverse of the usual direction or order.
      ‘counting backward’
      • ‘baseball caps turned backward’
  • 2Toward or into the past.

    • ‘a loving look backward at his early life’
    1. 2.1Toward or into a worse state.
      • ‘a giant step backward for child-centered education’

Pronunciation

backward

/ˈbakwərd/ /ˈbækwərd/

Usage

In US English, the adverb form is sometimes spelled backwards (the ladder fell backwards), but the adjective is almost always backward (a backward glance). Directional words using the suffix -ward tend to have no s ending in US English, although backwards is more common than afterwards, towards, or forwards. The s ending often (but not always) appears in the phrases backwards and forwards and bending over backwards. In British English, the spelling backwards is more common than backward

Phrases

    backward and forward
    • In both directions alternately; to and fro.

      • ‘I paced backward and forward’
    bend over backward
    informal
    • Make every effort to achieve something, especially to be fair or helpful.

      • ‘he bent over backward to be fair to the defendants’
    know something backward
    • Be entirely familiar with something.

      • ‘you put a song on repeat until you know it backward’

Origin

Middle English from earlier abackward, from aback.