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back +‎ slide


backslide (third-person singular simple present backslides, present participle backsliding, simple past backslid or backslided, past participle backslidden or backslid or backslided)

  1. To regress; to slip backwards or revert to a previous, worse state.
    Synonym: retrograde
    He felt better for a little while, before his condition started to backslide.
    • 1893, George Eliot, “Meeting Again”, in Romola, volume III, page 233:
      [] Monna Brigida, who had backslided into false hair in Romola's absence, but now drew it off again and declared she would not mind being gray, if her dear child would stay with her.
    • 1997, J. J. King, quoting Kevin Kelly, “The Right Connections: Tea with Kevin Kelly”, in Mute, volume 1, number 8, ISSN 1356-7748:
      Despite backsliding in various parts of the globe, there's a very clear trend towards the decentralisation of governments.
  2. To shirk responsibility; to renege on one's obligations or commitments.
    • 2002 June 24, “Rich countries backsliding on WTO commitments on drug patent rules says Oxfam International”, in Oxfam America[1], archived from the original on 2007-06-12:
      Rich countries are backsliding on their commitment to agree to new WTO measures to help people in poor countries gain access to affordable medicines.
  3. (Christianity) To revert back into a life of sin after being saved.

Derived terms[edit]


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backslide (plural backslides)

  1. A backward regression; a reverting back to a worse state.
  2. (dance) A dance move in which the feet are alternately slid back and the heels lifted, giving the illusion of walking forwards while actually moving backwards.
    Synonym: moonwalk