back + foot
backfoot (third-person singular simple present backfoots, present participle backfooting, simple past and past participle backfooted)
- (transitive) To put on the defensive; to put off balance.
1996, Kenneth Branagh, “The Film diaries”, in Hamlet, page 188:
- Hamlet is bitter, evasive, now backfooting them, now attacking, now genial - their job isn't going to be easy.
2006 Feb 21, “Japan opposition gears up for showdown on Livedoor”, Boston Globe:
- Koizumi's government has been backfooted by the indictment of Horie, the former CEO of Livedoor Co., on charges of violating securities regulations