backward Definition

  • 1directed behind or to the rear
  • 2reluctant to advance or take action
  • 3less advanced in development than is usual for one's age

Using backward: Examples

Take a moment to familiarize yourself with how "backward" can be used in various situations through the following examples!

  • Example

    He took a backward step.

  • Example

    The company has been slow to adopt new technologies and is falling backward compared to its competitors.

  • Example

    The child is backward in his studies.

  • Example

    She is very backward about coming forward.

backward Synonyms and Antonyms

Idioms Using backward

  • to retreat or move away from a situation


    After the scandal, the company had to take a step backward and reevaluate their policies.

  • shy or hesitant to speak up or take action


    She's interested in the job, but she's a bit backward in coming forward about it.

  • to know something very well


    He knows the script backward and forward after rehearsing it so many times.

Phrases with backward

  • in both directions


    He paced backward and forward across the room.

  • a look back at something that has happened


    She cast a backward glance at the house as she drove away.

  • backward country

    a country that is less developed than others


    The country is still quite backward in terms of infrastructure and technology.

Origins of backward

from Old English 'bæcweard', meaning 'toward the back'


Summary: backward in Brief

The term 'backward' [ˈbækwərd] describes something directed behind or to the rear, reluctant to advance or take action, or less advanced in development than is usual for one's age. It can be used in phrases like 'backward and forward,' and idioms like 'take a step backward,' which means to retreat or move away from a situation. 'Backward' also extends into phrases like 'backward glance,' and 'backward country,' denoting a less developed country.

How do native speakers use this expression?