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back·ward / ˈbakwərd/ • adj. 1. directed behind or to the rear: she left the room without a backward glance. ∎  looking toward the past, rather than being progressive; retrograde: he said the decision was a backward step. 2. (of a person) having learning difficulties: a lively child but a bit backward. ∎  having made less than normal progress: economically backward countries. • adv. (also back·wards) 1. (of a movement) away from one's front; in the direction of one's back: he took a step backward Harry suddenly fell backward into a somersault. ∎  in reverse of the usual direction or order: counting backward baseball caps turned backward. ∎  with the rear facing forward. 2. toward or into the past: a loving look backward at his early life. ∎  toward or into a worse state: a giant step backward for child-centered education. PHRASES: backward and forward in both directions alternately; to and fro. bend (or lean) over backward inf. make every effort, esp. to be fair or helpful: Jensen bent over backward to be fair. know something backward (and forward) be entirely familiar with something.DERIVATIVES: back·ward·ly adv. back·ward·ness n.

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backward •landward • backward •Edward, headward •hellward • heavenward • leftward •northwestward, southwestward, westward •wayward •leeward, seaward •eastward, northeastward, southeastward •windward • inward • cityward •skyward • sideward • rightward •onward •forward, henceforward, shoreward, straightforward, thenceforward •awkward • northward •downward, townward •outward • southward • poleward •homeward • oceanward • Woodward •sunward • upward • frontward •rearward • afterward • earthward •halyard •lanyard, Spaniard •untenured • steelyard • vineyard •poniard •haphazard, hazard, mazzard •blizzard, gizzard, izard, lizard, vizard, wizard •buzzard

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backward towards the back of rear. XIV. Aphetic of †abackward, f. ABACK + -WARD.

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