(adjective, adverb)


1. Oriented toward the back.

- The battleship had three backwards guns at the stern, in addition to the primary complement.

2. Reversed.

- The backwards lettering on emergency vehicles makes it possible to read in the rear-view mirror.

3. (derogatory) Behind current trends or technology.

- Modern medicine regards the use of leeches as a backwards practice.

4. Clumsy, inept, or inefficient.

- He was a very backwards scholar, but he was a marvel on the football field.


1. at or to or toward the back or rear

- tripped when he stepped backward

Similar word(s): back, backward, rearward, rearwards

2. in a manner or order or direction the reverse of normal

- it's easy to get the `i' and the `e' backward in words like `seize' and `siege'

- the child put her jersey on backward

Similar word(s): backward

Sentences with backwards as an adverb:

- The cabinet toppled over backwards.

- Life is lived forwards, but understood backwards.—Søren Kierkegaard

- The clock did not work because the battery was inserted backwards.

- The tour guide walked backwards while droning on to the bored seniors.