backwards


Also found in: Thesaurus, Legal, Idioms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

back·ward

 (băk′wərd)
adj.
1. Directed or facing toward the back or rear.
2. Done or arranged in a manner or order that is opposite to previous occurrence or normal use.
3. Unwilling to act; reluctant; shy.
4. Behind others in progress or development: The technology was backward, but the system worked.
adv. or back·wards (-wərdz)
1. To or toward the back or rear.
2. With the back leading.
3. In a reverse manner or order.
4. To, toward, or into the past.
5. Toward a worse or less advanced condition.

back′ward·ly adv.
back′ward·ness n.
Usage Note: Most American English dictionaries list -wards as a spelling variant of the directional suffix -ward. Accordingly, two variants are provided for most of the adverbs that end with this suffix: backward/backwards, toward/towards, upward/upwards, and so on. Although both variants are considered acceptable, the -ward suffix is more common in American English, whereas the -wards suffix is more common in British English. This distinction is more prominent in edited prose than in casual writing or speech, possibly because many American copyeditors follow style manuals that recommend or prescribe the -ward variant. Despite this dialectal differentiation, there remains significant variation in usage among individuals and even among the different -ward words themselves. This variation is evident in the results from our 2012 usage survey: backwards and towards were deemed acceptable by 72 percent and 69 percent of Panelists, respectively, but only 38 percent found forwards to be acceptable. Note that for those -ward words that also function as adjectives, the form without the s is standard: a backward look; a westward journey.

backwards

(ˈbækwədz) or

backward

adv
1. towards the rear
2. with the back foremost
3. in the reverse of usual order or direction
4. to or towards the past
5. into a worse state: the patient was slipping backwards.
6. towards the point of origin
7. bend over backwards lean over backwards fall over backwards informal to make a special effort, esp in order to please
8. know backwards informal to understand completely

backwards

1. 'backwards'

If you move or look backwards, you move or look in the direction your back is facing.

The hummingbird can fly backwards.
He overbalanced and stepped backwards onto a coffee cup.
Lucille looked backwards at the once-lovely site where her great-great-grandparents' graves had lain.

If you do something backwards, you do it the opposite way to the usual way.

Listen to the tape backwards.
2. 'backward'

Speakers of American English sometimes say backward instead of 'backwards'.

The snout hit Hooper in the chest and knocked him backward.

In both British and American English, backward is an adjective. A backward movement or look is one in which someone or something moves or looks backwards.

She took a backward step.
Without a backward glance, he walked away.

When backward is an adjective, it can only be used in front of a noun.

ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adv.1.backwards - at or to or toward the back or rearbackwards - at or to or toward the back or rear; "he moved back"; "tripped when he stepped backward"; "she looked rearward out the window of the car"
2.backwards - in a manner or order or direction the reverse of normalbackwards - in a manner or order or direction the reverse of normal; "it's easy to get the `i' and the `e' backward in words like `seize' and `siege'"; "the child put her jersey on backward"

backwards

backward
adverb
1. towards the rear, behind you, in reverse, rearwards Bess glanced backwards.
2. in reverse order, back to front, in the opposite way from usual He works backwards, building a house from the top downwards.
3. to the past, back unshakable traditions that look backward rather than ahead

backwards

adverb
1. Toward the back:
2. In or toward a former location or condition:
Translations
إلى الخَلْف، باتِّجاهٍ عَكْسيإِلى الوَرَاءإلى الوَراءإلى الوَرَاءبِطَريقَةٍ عَكْسِيَّةٍ
dozadupozpátkuzpět
baglænsbagudtilbage
hacia atráspara detrásrevésa contrapeloal revés
peegelpiltsaamatutagasisuunastagurpiditahapoole
kelvotontaaksepäintakaperinvanhanaikainen
naopakounatraške
háttalvisszafelé
aftur , til bakaaftur á bak
反対に後方に
뒤로뒤쪽으로
nazadpospiatkyspätne
baklänges
ไปข้างหลัง ย้อนหลังถอยหลัง
arkayageri gerigeriyegeriye doğruters
ngược lạivề phía sau

backwards

[ˈbækwərdz] adv
(= towards the back) [move, go] → en arrière; [walk] → à reculons; [look] → en arrière; [brush, comb] → à rebours
to take a step backwards → faire un pas en arrière
to fall backwards → tomber à la renverse
to move backwards and forwards → faire des allées et venues
people travelling backwards and forwards to and from London
BUT les gens qui font la navette pour aller à Londres.
(= in reverse order) [read a list] → à l'envers; [count] → à l'envers
to know sth backwards, to know sth backwards and forwards (US) (= thoroughly) → connaître qch sur le bout des doigts
(in time)en arrière, vers le passé
to look backwards to the past → regarder en arrière vers le passé
(fig) a step backwards → un pas en arrièrebackward somersault nsalto m arrière

backwards

adv
rückwärts; to fall backwardsnach hinten fallen; to walk backwards and forwardshin und her gehen; to stroke a cat backwardseine Katze gegen den Strich streicheln; to lean or bend over backwards to do something (inf)sich fast umbringen or sich (dat)ein Bein ausreißen, um etw zu tun (inf); I know it backwards (Brit) or backwards and forwards (US) → das kenne ich in- und auswendig
(= towards the past)zurück; to look backwardszurückblicken

backwards

[ˈbækwədz] back£ward (Am) [ˈbækwəd] advindietro
to walk backwards → camminare all'indietro
backwards and forwards → avanti e indietro
to bend over backwards to do sth (fam) → farsi in quattro per fare qc
to know sth backwards (fam) → sapere qc a menadito

backward

(ˈbӕkwəd) adjective
1. aimed or directed backwards. He left without a backward glance.
2. less advanced in mind or body than is normal for one's age. a backward child.
3. late in developing a modern culture, mechanization etc. That part of Britain is still very backward; the backward peoples of the world.
ˈbackwardness noun
ˈbackwards adverb
1. towards the back. He glanced backwards.
2. with one's back facing the direction one is going in. The child walked backwards into a lamp-post.
3. in the opposite way to that which is usual. Can you count from 1 to 10 backwards? (= starting at 10 and counting to 1).
backwards and forwards
in one direction and then in the opposite direction. The dog ran backwards and forwards across the grass.
bend/fall over backwards
to try very hard. He bent over backwards to get us tickets for the concert.

backwards

إِلى الوَرَاء, إلى الوَرَاء dozadu, pozpátku baglæns rücklings, rückwärts ανάποδα, προς τα πίσω al revés, hacia atrás, revés takaperin en arrière naopako, unatraške al contrario, all’indietro 反対に, 後方に 뒤로, 뒤쪽으로 achterstevoren, achteruit baklengs na odwrót, wstecz ao contrário, para trás назад, наоборот baklänges ไปข้างหลัง ย้อนหลัง, ถอยหลัง geriye doğru, ters ngược lại, về phía sau 向后, 相反地
References in classic literature ?
Then, turning round, he blew out the man's brains as Francis sank backwards.
And what I tell you is this--that as long as our people go backwards and forwards, to and fro, up and down, to that there jolly old Maypole, lettering, and messaging, and fetching and carrying, you couldn't help your son keeping company with that young lady by deputy,--not if he was minded night and day by all the Horse Guards, and every man of 'em in the very fullest uniform.
More and more she leans over to the whale, while every gasping heave of the windlass is answered by a helping heave from the billows; till at last, a swift, startling snap is heard; with a great swash the ship rolls upwards and backwards from the whale, and the triumphant tackle rises into sight dragging after it the disengaged semicircular end of the first strip of blubber.
Pierre looked over the wall of the trench and was particularly struck by a pale young officer who, letting his sword hang down, was walking backwards and kept glancing uneasily around.
That's the effect of living backwards,' the Queen said kindly:
He poured out these words fiercely, all in a breath, walking backwards and forwards, and striking about him in the air with his whip.
He sang the first four lines briskly and merrily, making the hare-bells chime in time with the music; but the last two he sang quite slowly and gently, and merely waved the flowers backwards and forwards.
The rough yelled with pain, and rushed in, hitting with both hands, and kicking with his iron-shod boots, but the Admiral had still a quick foot and a true eye, so that he bounded backwards and sideways, still raining a shower, of blows upon his savage antagonist.
He moved his head backwards and forwards and flew away.
In solving a problem of this sort, the grand thing is to be able to reason backwards.
You observe that in the ordinary swimming position of the Sperm Whale, the front of his head presents an almost wholly vertical plane to the water; you observe that the lower part of that front slopes considerably backwards, so as to furnish more of a retreat for the long socket which receives the boom-like lower jaw; you observe that the mouth is entirely under the head, much in the same way, indeed, as though your own mouth were entirely under your chin.
Nevertheless, if any one should ask of me how comes it that the Church has attained such greatness in temporal power, seeing that from Alexander backwards the Italian potentates (not only those who have been called potentates, but every baron and lord, though the smallest) have valued the temporal power very slightly--yet now a king of France trembles before it, and it has been able to drive him from Italy, and to ruin the Venetians--although this may be very manifest, it does not appear to me superfluous to recall it in some measure to memory.