Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
- Oriented toward the back.
- The battleship had three backwards guns at the stern, in addition to the primary complement.
- The backwards lettering on emergency vehicles makes it possible to read in the rear-view mirror.
- (derogatory) Behind current trends or technology.
- Modern medicine regards the use of leeches as a backwards practice.
- Clumsy, inept, or inefficient.
- He was a very backwards scholar, but he was a marvel on the football field.
- In senses 3 and 4, and generally in American English, backward is preferred.
- (oriented toward the back):
- (reversed): mirror image, switched, back to front
- (behind current trends or technology): crude, dated, obsolete, primitive
- (clumsy, inept, or inefficient): awkward, fumbling, incompetent, poor
oriented toward the back
behind current trends
- Toward the back.
- The cabinet toppled over backwards.
- Life is lived forwards, but understood backwards.—Søren Kierkegaard
- In the opposite direction of usual.
- The clock did not work because the battery was inserted backwards.
- In a manner such that the back precedes the front.
- The tour guide walked backwards while droning on to the bored seniors.
- In written American English, backward is usually preferred.
- Strictly, backwards is used as an adverb and backward is used as an adjective in British English, and often the rule is reversed in American English. This follows the same usage for similar words ending in -ward/-wards and -way/-ways. See also -wise.
- Also, even though an adverb may be used in adjectival combinations (eg a quickly moving car), only the -ward forms are commonly used in adjectival combinations: eg
- A backward-facing statue / A backward facing statue.
- (toward the back): hindwards, rearward, retrograde
- (in the opposite direction of usual): contrariwise, reversedly
- (so that the back precedes the front): back to front, in reverse
toward the back
in the opposite direction of usual
with back preceding the front
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