back + pedal
backpedal (third-person singular simple present backpedals, present participle (US) backpedaling or (UK) backpedalling, simple past and past participle (US) backpedaled or (UK) backpedalled)
- (intransitive) To pedal backwards on a bicycle.
- (intransitive) To step backwards.
- The player had to backpedal before catching the ball.
- (intransitive, idiomatic) To distance oneself from an earlier claim or statement; back off from an idea.
- Though initially adopting a hard-line stance, the politician soon started to backpedal.
- (distance oneself from an earlier claim or statement): climb down
to pedal backwards on a bicycle
to distance oneself from an earlier claim or statement