American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- adj. Directed or facing toward the back or rear.
- adj. Done or arranged in a manner or order that is opposite to previous occurrence or normal use.
- adj. Unwilling to act; reluctant; shy.
- adj. Behind others in progress or development: The technology was backward, but the system worked.
- adv. To or toward the back or rear.
- adv. With the back leading.
- adv. In a reverse manner or order.
- adv. To, toward, or into the past.
- adv. Toward a worse or less advanced condition.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- In the direction of the back: as, to throw the arms backward.
- With the back first in the direction of motion: as, to walk backward; to fall backward.
- In the direction from which one has come; toward that which is or has been left behind: as, he glanced backward.
- Toward bygone times or events; toward that which is past in time: as, to look backward to the last century.
- In or by reflection; reflexively.
- In time past; ago.
- In an opposite or contrary direction.
- In an opposite or reverse order; from the end toward the beginning; in an order contrary to the natural order: as, to read or spell backward; hence, perversely; in a wrong or perverse manner.
- From a better to a worse state; retrogressively.
- Directed to the back or rear: as, “a backward look,”
- Reversed; returning; directed to or toward the original starting-point: as, a backward movement or journey.
- Done in reverse order; done in an order contrary to the natural order, as in repeating a sentence from the end to the beginning.
- Being in, or placed at, the back.
- Slow; sluggish; unprogressive; unadvanced; behind in progress: as, a backward learner.
- Late; behind in time; coming after something else, or after the usual time: as, backward fruits; the season is backward.
- Holding back; averse; reluctant; hesitating.
- Timid; bashful; retiring in disposition; modest.
- Reaching back into the past; already past.
- n. The things or state behind or past.
- To obstruct; keep back; retard; delay.
- adj. of motion Pertaining to the direction towards the back.
- adj. of motion Pertaining to the direction reverse of normal.
- adj. Reluctant or unable to advance.
- adj. Of a culture considered undeveloped or unsophisticated.
- adj. Pertaining to a thought or value that is considered outdated.
- adj. cricket On that part of the field behind the batsman's popping crease.
- adj. cricket Further behind the batsman's popping crease than something else.
- adv. of motion In the direction towards the back; backwards
GNU Webster's 1913
- adv. With the back in advance or foremost.
- adv. Toward the back; toward the rear.
- adv. On the back, or with the back downward.
- adv. Toward, or in, past time or events; ago.
- adv. By way of reflection; reflexively.
- adv. From a better to a worse state, as from honor to shame, from religion to sin.
- adv. In a contrary or reverse manner, way, or direction; contrarily.
- adj. Directed to the back or rear.
- adj. Unwilling; averse; reluctant; hesitating; loath.
- adj. Not well advanced in learning; not quick of apprehension; dull; inapt.
- adj. Late or behindhand.
- adj. Not advanced in civilization; undeveloped.
- adj. rare Already past or gone; bygone.
- n. obsolete The state behind or past.
- v. obsolete To keep back; to hinder.
- adj. (used of temperament or behavior) marked by a retiring nature
- adj. retarded in intellectual development
- adv. in a manner or order or direction the reverse of normal
- adj. having made less than normal progress
- adv. at or to or toward the back or rear
- adv. in or to or toward a past time
- adj. directed or facing toward the back or rear
- From Old English abakward (from on bæc + -weard). back + -ward (Wiktionary)
“A human society can either fall backward or progress forward, but it cannot _progress backward_.”
“I sat at the kitchen counter and drew my name backward with the juice of a stray tomato slice cut for the reception.”
“All the hidden assistant had to do was trace out the phrase backward and it would magically appear on the front of the board.”
“Those who have studied modern Chinese history will recognize what connotations the term backward (落后 or luò hòu) means for the Chinese people.”
“And neither was my mother really; she was 50 percent, and if she had been there, she would have been not singing, but telling people that I spent a lot of time as a child learning how to spell my name backward.”
“That's what I call a backward slide down the slippery slope of self-centeredness, away from grace, and relying pretty much on my own devices.”
“I knew the word, but I had the definition backward.”
“This month, lawmaker Nicolae Paun, who represents the Roma, or Gypsies, in Parliament, said legislation must be enacted to stop what he called "backward practices.”
“Hatamura favors what he calls "backward thinking" - looking at a previous step in the process to see if it worked properly.”
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