Definition of backwater in English:



  • 1A part of a river not reached by the current, where the water is stagnant.

    ‘the eels inhabit backwaters’
    • ‘This means wind sheltered bays in lakes and the backwaters of rivers.’
    • ‘Such creeks can contain healthy fish populations, but they are not as easily renewed as those of the big rivers and adjacent backwaters.’
    • ‘The hens lived here; so did the herbs that lined the steep bank that led down to the backwaters of the river Oglio.’
    • ‘This coupled with the saline water intrusion completes the process of contamination of the Kuttanad backwaters.’
    • ‘The act of dismantling my rod was enough to entice the fat trout I had been luring - an old fish wise to flies and fishermen - out of his sheltered backwater and into the stream.’
    • ‘Deep in the old Alabama cotton belt, Mason's Bend is a minuscule hamlet tucked into a backwater of the Black Warrior river.’
    • ‘Navigable along virtually its entire length, the Nene has many locks and associated backwaters giving the river a wide range of habitats.’
    • ‘There is no wisdom in putting a road for said heavy traffic through the deep backwater of the Slater Creek basin into Pitt Street.’
    • ‘Suddenly, without warning, water came at them from two sides - the sea on one side, and stagnant, filthy water from a backwater on the other.’
    • ‘For keeping the drains clean, the project had included a recommendation to flush these with water drawn from the backwaters.’
    • ‘The book's worldwide critical success helped contextualise the region for a huge audience; illuminating the caste system and conveying how central the rivers and backwaters are to the area's everyday rhythms of life.’
    • ‘Habitat of the shornosed gar includes lakes, swamps, and the calm pools and backwaters of creeks and rivers.’
    • ‘The canoe glided through an opening not much more than twice its own width, and into a hidden backwater running parallel to the river.’
    • ‘Copying this colorful festival, there have been other boat races in the backwaters and rivers of Kerala for the purpose of attracting foreign tourists.’
    • ‘They inhabit swift streams, the backwaters of large rivers, brackish lagoons, and potholes.’
    • ‘The traditional Chinese nets, landscapes and huts by the river or backwaters are evocative of a child's fascination with the wonders around her.’
    • ‘During a flood in the 1970s, the backwater broke its banks during a game against Swan Reach, forcing the match to be finished with one end increasingly under water.’
    • ‘At the tidal swamps, the shore is a low, narrow levee separating the waters of the creeks from the backwaters of the swamps.’
    • ‘Now the calm river flows between the backwaters and wooded bluffs in an oversized valley.’
    • ‘Pike spawn during March and April in the shallow weedy margins of lakes and in the tiny overgrown backwaters of rivers.’
    1. 1.1An isolated or peaceful place.
      ‘nothing spoils the tranquillity of this quiet backwater’
      • ‘Although tourist brochures may still sell Ireland as a sleepy backwater of Europe, recent prosperity has brought rapid modernisation and an enforced embracing of multiculturalism.’
      • ‘It's my third visit to his cramped attic workroom (‘studio’ sounds too grand for the cluttered space) in a quiet backwater near London's Victoria.’
      • ‘In the other are those who forcefully reject new tourist attractions, preferring to remain a quaint backwater, undisturbed by 21st-century concerns.’
      • ‘Once in England, he based himself at East Molesey, then as now a sleepy little suburban backwater on the Thames, popular with rowers and weekend day-trippers because of its proximity to the palace of Hampton Court.’
      • ‘Europe had become a quiet backwater of the world.’
      • ‘At the southern tip of the city, another enterprising group is trying to market the placid backwaters of rural Kerala.’
      • ‘They concluded that the village was less of a sleepy backwater than previously thought and more intensively settled, with houses jostling for space.’
      • ‘It's a quiet residential backwater surrounded by old Victorian terraces.’
      • ‘We ventured out alone - taking the risk that the quiet backwater of Saqqez was outside the searchlight gaze of the moral police.’
      • ‘It's an unassuming place from the street, a quiet backwater in a Wellington suburb.’
      • ‘Before 1965, cosmology was a quiet backwater of science, almost a little ghetto where a few mathematicians could play with their models without annoying anybody else.’
      • ‘While portrayed in bourgeois European circles as a peaceful backwater of the English Channel, Jersey's true origins are of conquest and domination.’
      • ‘The energetic wit and laddish humour of one so young pervades this hair-brained adventure, set in the sleepy backwaters of a small Swedish country town.’
      • ‘There is no better initiation into its mysteries than a cross-country trip, taking in its biggest cities, its esoteric backwaters, and its most impressive pieces of natural architecture.’
      • ‘It was a bit of a sleepy backwater and became something very different.’
      • ‘Set deep in the American South, this debut novel spans 80 years in the life of Mercury, Mississippi, as it evolves from sleepy backwater to a small city.’
      • ‘The world's fourth largest atoll, Ulithi was a large staging area for the US during WWII, but has become a quiet backwater with many barrier reefs islands and only a small population living on just four isles.’
      • ‘Andros is a quiet backwater of the Bahamas which sits on the precipitous edge of the Tongue of the Ocean - a vast chasm of water which is wired up with sensors and monitors to allow trials to be recorded and analysed in detail.’
      • ‘No problem, they think, we'll just send him off to a quiet backwater like, say, Cuba.’
      • ‘Today Harcourt Terrace is an elegant, largely residential area and the street has become a quiet backwater since being closed to through traffic.’
      quiet, peaceful, tranquil, placid, slow-moving, inactive
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    2. 1.2A place or situation in which no development or progress is taking place.
      ‘the country remained an economic backwater’
      • ‘Domestically, he has overseen the development of his country from an imperial backwater to a cutting-edge competitor.’
      • ‘Our own unique domain suffix is vital if we are to be recognised as a vibrant new country, and not as an internet, e-commerce and economic backwater.’
      • ‘In the wake of his work, and that of his fellow mango gangsters, Miami has progressed from a culinary backwater to one of America's top 10 gastro-cities.’
      • ‘As the limited education of these people depresses their wages, their sense of being stuck in an economic backwater breeds resentment.’
      • ‘Some institutions interstate cling to the idea of Queensland being a cultural and economic backwater, as they have done for a decade or more now.’
      • ‘Having stagnated for untold ages in an evolutionary backwater, they now had the modern world thrust suddenly upon them.’
      • ‘That such bloodshed occurred in today's Gujarat is surprising, for the state is no economic backwater but is, instead, one of India's most dynamic states.’
      • ‘In the age of globalization it is an economic backwater.’
      • ‘Until the Netherlands transferred sovereignty to an independent Indonesia in December 1949, West Papua remained an economic and administrative backwater.’
      • ‘The north cannot continue as an economic backwater.’
      • ‘I hope the rest of the country moves on, refusing to join you in your stagnant backwater of 18th century hokum.’
      • ‘Once an economic backwater, the country was dubbed ‘the Celtic Tiger’ in the 1990s as business took off.’
      • ‘As the central authority of the state has weakened, so it has become an economic and political backwater.’
      • ‘Certainly in one sense they feel that he has taken Malaysia from being an economic backwater to the forefront of the global stage, particularly with the war on terror.’
      • ‘Chicago, the third-largest city in the nation, has only produced a few rap artists of note, and therefore remains a hip-hop backwater.’
      • ‘Despite the amount and high quality of archaeological research into Roman Britain, Roman Britain studies remain something of an archaeological backwater.’
      • ‘France's Great Leap Forward was an achievement of the planning of the post-war era; measures will have to be taken to prevent it sliding again into an economic backwater.’
      • ‘I can see his point on cutting the bureaucracy, but the near inevitable outcome is that the money saved will not be spent here and we will descend further and further into an even shabbier social and economic backwater.’
      • ‘The South at one time was viewed as the cultural backwater of the nation, both as an economic liability and a social embarrassment.’
      non-metropolitan, small-town, non-urban, outlying, rural, country, rustic, backwoods, backwater
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