- Oriented toward the back.
- The battleship had three backwards guns at the stern, in addition to the primary complement.
- The backwards lettering on emergency vehicles makes it possible to read in the rear-view mirror.
- (derogatory) Behind current trends or technology.
- Modern medicine regards the use of leeches as a backwards practice.
- Clumsy, inept, or inefficient, especially in learning.
- He was a very backwards scholar, but he was a marvel on the football field.
- In senses 3 and 4, and often in American English, backward is preferred.
- (oriented toward the back):
- (reversed): mirror image, switched, back to front
- (behind current trends or technology): crude, dated, obsolete, primitive
- (clumsy, inept, or inefficient): awkward, fumbling, incompetent, poor
oriented toward the back
behind current trends
- Toward the back.
- The cabinet toppled over backwards.
- Life is lived forwards, but understood backwards.—Søren Kierkegaard
- In the opposite direction to usual.
- The clock did not work because the battery was inserted backwards.
- In a manner such that the back precedes the front.
- The tour guide walked backwards while droning on to the bored seniors.
- In written American English, backward is more common.
- Strictly speaking, backwards is an adverb and backward is an adjective in British English; in American English, the rule may be reversed. This follows the same usage for similar words ending in -ward/-wards and -way/-ways. See also -wise.
- It was a backward move vs He moved backwards
- Also, even though an adverb may be used in adjectival combinations (eg a quickly moving car), only the -ward forms are commonly used in adjectival combinations, e.g.:
- A backward-facing statue. / A backward facing statue.
- (toward the back): hindwards, rearward, retrograde
- (in the opposite direction of usual): contrariwise, reversedly; See also Thesaurus:contrarily
- (so that the back precedes the front): back to front, in reverse; See also Thesaurus:back to front
toward the back
in the opposite direction of usual
with back preceding the front