backward Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo
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Meaning of “backward” in the English Dictionary

"backward" in British English

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backwardadjective

uk   /ˈbæk.wəd/  us   /ˈbæk.wɚd/
  • backward adjective (NOT INTELLIGENT/MODERN)

C2 not ​advanced: When he was a ​child, his ​teachersthought he was backward (= ​unable to ​learn as much as most ​children). People still ​think of it as a backward ​country/​region/​area (= one without ​industry or ​modernmachines).
backwardness
noun [U] uk   /ˈbæk.wəd.nəs/  us   /ˈbæk.wɚd.nəs/
They were ​accused of backwardness (= very ​old-fashionedways) because they had no ​washingmachine.

backwardadverb

uk   /ˈbæk.wəd/  us   /ˈbæk.wɚd/ mainly US
(Definition of backward from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"backward" in American English

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backwardadverb [not gradable]

 us   /ˈbæk·wərd/ (also backwards,  /ˈbæk·wərdz/ )
toward the ​direction that is ​opposite to the one in which you are ​facing or ​opposite to the ​usualdirection: He took a ​step backward. He ​begancounting backward: "Ten, nine, eight . . ." She was ​skating around the ​rink, backward and ​forward.

backwardadjective

 us   /ˈbæk·wərd/
  • backward adjective (TOWARD THE BACK)

[not gradable] directed toward the back or in the ​direction that is ​opposite to the one in which you are ​facing: He did a ​terrific backward ​somersault.
  • backward adjective (NOT DEVELOPED)

not ​developed, or not ​modern or ​advanced: The ​stateneeds to ​reformits backward ​electionlaws.
(Definition of backward from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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