backward

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English bakwarde, abakward, equivalent to back (adverb) +‎ -ward.

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

backward (comparative more backward, superlative most backward)

  1. (of motion) In the direction towards the back.
    They left without a backward glance.
  2. (of motion) In the direction reverse of normal.
    The occasional backward movement of planets is evidence they revolve around the sun.
    Synonym: retrograde
  3. Reluctant or unable to advance.
    • 1919, Maugham, W[illiam] Somerset, “chapter 51”, in The Moon and Sixpence:
      Then her eyes, always alert for the affairs of her kitchen, fell on some action of the Chinese cook which aroused her violent disapproval. She turned on him with a torrent of abuse. The Chink was not backward to defend himself, and a very lively quarrel ensued.
    • 2003 August, “Media Prospecting”, in Mortgage Magazine[1]:
      Don't be backward in suggesting story ideas to local media but always think of the wants, needs and desires of their readers when selling-in story ideas.
  4. Of a culture: undeveloped or unsophisticated.
    • 2006, Donnelly, Tom, “Back to Mogadishu?”, in Armed Forces Journal[2]:
      Most cruelly, the immediate security interests of the United States and the states surrounding Somalia are now to keep it a failed state, to prevent Islamists from consolidating even a weak state centered on Mogadishu. The leader of the victorious faction, one Aden Hashi 'Ayro, is said to be a veteran of Afghanistan; he knows well what a small sanctuary in a backward corner of the globe can mean for al Qaeda.
    Synonyms: developing, Third World
    Antonyms: developed, First World, forward
  5. Outdated.
    Synonyms: antediluvian, antiquated, backwards, parachronistic, retrograde; see also Thesaurus:obsolete
    Antonym: progressive
  6. (cricket) On that part of the field behind the batsman's popping crease.
  7. (cricket) Further behind the batsman's popping crease than something else.
  8. (obsolete) Unwilling; averse; reluctant.
    • 1713, Pope, Alexander, Windsor Forest, line 50:
      For wiser brutes were backward to be slaves.
  9. Slow to apprehend; having difficulties in learning.
    a backward child
  10. Late or behindhand.
    a backward season
    • 1848, Gaskell, Elizabeth, Mary Barton:
      " [] I've a job of work to finish tonight; mourning, as must be in time for the funeral to-morrow; and grandfather has been out moss- hunting, and will not be home till late."
      "Oh, how charming it will be! I'll help you if you're backward. Have you much to do?"
    Synonyms: overdue, tardy; see also Thesaurus:overdue
  11. (obsolete) Already past or gone; bygone.
    Synonyms: forepast, historical; see also Thesaurus:past

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Adverb[edit]

backward (comparative more backward, superlative most backward)

  1. (of motion) In the direction towards the back; backwards
    to walk or ride backward
    to throw the arms backward
  2. Toward, or in, past time or events; ago.
    • (Can we date this quote by John Locke and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      some reigns backward
  3. By way of reflection; reflexively.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Sir J. Davies to this entry?)
  4. From a better to a worse state, as from honor to shame, from religion to sin.
    • (Can we date this quote by Dryden and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      The work went backward.

Synonyms[edit]

Antonyms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Noun[edit]

backward

  1. The state behind or past.

Translations[edit]

Related terms[edit]

Anagrams[edit]