backfoot

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

back +‎ foot

Verb[edit]

backfoot (third-person singular simple present backfoots, present participle backfooting, simple past and past participle backfooted)

  1. (transitive) To put on the defensive; to put off balance.
    • 1996, Kenneth Branagh, “The Film diaries”, in Hamlet‎, page 188:
      Hamlet is bitter, evasive, now backfooting them, now attacking, now genial - their job isn't going to be easy.
    • 2006 Feb 21, “Japan opposition gears up for showdown on Livedoor”, Boston Globe:
      Koizumi's government has been backfooted by the indictment of Horie, the former CEO of Livedoor Co., on charges of violating securities regulations

Related terms[edit]