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See also: back-water and back water


Alternative forms[edit]


back +‎ water


backwater (plural backwaters)

  1. The water held back by a dam or other obstruction
  2. (idiomatic) A remote place; somewhere that remains unaffected by new events, progresses, ideas, etc.
    • 1978, National Opera Association - The Opera Journal page 29
      It's a volume for those who delight in exploring the backwaters of nineteenth-century opera.
    • 1979, Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
      Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun.
  3. A rowing stroke in which the oar is pushed forward to stop the boat; see back water




backwater (third-person singular simple present backwaters, present participle backwatering, simple past and past participle backwatered)

  1. To row or paddle a backwater stroke.
  2. (idiomatic) To vacillate on a long-held position.