Definition of backpedal in English:



  • 1 Move the pedals of a bicycle backward in order to brake.

    • ‘She back-pedaled to brake as she approached them.’
    • ‘Remember, back-pedal to brake (counter-intuitive to my brain I think, but I managed).’
    • ‘The main difference between mine and the one pictured above is that mine doesn't have hand brakes (you have to back pedal to brake, just like on a training bike) and on the back, it has a snazzy pair of hot pink saddle bags (waterproof of course).’
    1. 1.1Move hastily backward.
      ‘backpedaling furiously, he flipped a perfect pass’
      • ‘Every time he had the ball at his feet he had the Exeter defence back-pedalling and the watching crowd on the edge of their seats.’
      • ‘The Americans' strategy of playing balls either over the top of the Germans' defence or down the flanks continually had the three-time world champions back-pedalling, exposing their lack of pace.’
      • ‘And they were unable to cope with his driven line-outs and rolling mauls, which constantly had the home pack back-pedalling furiously.’
      • ‘But in the ‘return’ the Havies dished out superb open rugby with their entire back division co-ordinating well and had the soldiers back-pedalling.’
      • ‘The player, back-pedalling furiously, did wonderfully to prevent the ball dropping in under his crossbar.’
      • ‘As those in front saw what he was waving in his right hand, they tried to back-pedal, but their escape was blocked by other nosy people coming up behind them.’
      • ‘And up on Henman Hill they will set up a camp festooned with all those flags and that same fervour seemingly made redundant after that player back-pedalled ignominiously into his own net.’
      • ‘He back-pedalled at deep mid-on in an attempt to take a catch but pulled up lame instead.’
      • ‘He ran on to the rebound, but again he was thwarted as the keeper back-pedalled furiously to complete his solo stand.’
      • ‘His catch and break from deep was crucial and once the centres had combined to send him running free, the Italians were back-pedalling furiously.’
      • ‘He tried to back-pedal, but his ankle turned and he fell.’
      • ‘At the same time, Leeds back-pedalled and the style of football they adopted made them desperate to watch.’
      • ‘The first half was poor with one or two goalmouth scrambles and the nearest Corinthians came was when a cross-cum-shot from one player forced the keeper to back-pedal to tip the ball on to the crossbar.’
      • ‘She led four out, but was struggling approaching the home turn and was soon back-pedalling.’
      • ‘The goal changed the face of the game as the hosts finally began to look like the Unibond title challengers they are and make City back-pedal.’
      • ‘The former Aberdeen striker drilled in a 45-yard shot which forced the Frenchman to furiously back-pedal and tip the ball over the bar.’
      • ‘The crowd was roaring with laughter, advice was shouted to the Jaffna team to tackle, but they, with the previous penalty in mind continued to back-pedal, keeping 10 yards in front of the man with the ball!’
      • ‘There was a spell in the second quarter when Cork were back-pedalling but otherwise they were composed and strong.’
      • ‘It was a long ball over the top and I was trying to back-pedal but I read it wrong and suddenly he was in to score.’
      • ‘As the Frenchman back-pedals furiously, the ball lands on the roof of the goal.’
    2. 1.2Reverse one's previous action or opinion.
      ‘you've criticized him for backpedaling on budget reform’
      • ‘‘Lets not talk about it,’ he said, back-pedalling hastily.’
      • ‘The MP in question now feels he has bitten off rather more than he can swallow, let alone chew, and is now back-pedalling frantically.’
      • ‘This year, he back-pedalled on this particular topic.’
      • ‘Due to these protests, the government was forced to back-pedal, creating enormous pressure as the time limit for fulfilling EU conditions nears.’
      • ‘Yes there will be little bits of ups and downs as corporate America back-pedals on IT budgets.’
      • ‘It seems that the broadcasting company for its own reasons chose to back-pedal on this issue, given the article that ran the same day the documentary was aired.’
      • ‘It would appear that, having seen the response to his support of the revised peace plan, he is now frantically back-pedalling in an effort to have everyone love him.’
      • ‘However, it later back-pedalled, saying that it wants new rules to enable workers to pay contributions into personal pensions directly from their wages.’
      • ‘The Wiseacre back-pedalled on his promise… ‘If any challenger is successful, I hereby declare that I will support him or her in their use of these titles’.’
      • ‘‘It's just a passing remark,’ he hurriedly back-pedalled, sensing something wrong.’
      • ‘Of course he'll try to back-pedal, tacking a spectacular cop-out ending that leaves the central family intact and his final upbeat words nonsensically used as a coda.’
      • ‘That had him back-pedalling from his earlier claims.’
      • ‘All academics present agreed with that sentiment, so the Professor had to back-pedal furiously to preserve his reputation for holding only approved, peer-reviewed, ideologically sound opinions.’
      • ‘If that sounds like back-pedalling after the inflated self-opinions we're more used to hearing, Noel says not.’
      • ‘Nevertheless, the only East European country to sign up has been Romania (and the Romanian government is now back-pedalling, claiming that it was intimidated by Washington).’
      • ‘This forced him to back-pedal and promise to crack down on corporate pillagers, to publicly soften his environmental obstructionism, and to promise to pump more funds into housing, education and job programs.’
      • ‘It seems to me there's been an unforeseen outcome and they're trying to back-pedal.’
      • ‘‘Oh, don't get me wrong,’ she back-pedals, ‘I'm enjoying working on this show, but… I don't know how you all cope, getting scared witless week in and week out.’’
      • ‘Now, I'm guessing you'll just back-pedal and say, ‘I was just kidding.’’
      • ‘The minister's refusal to back-pedal on his smoking ban earlier this year raised the hackles of publicans nationwide who claimed it damaged their business enormously.’