Definition of on the back foot in US English:

on the back foot

phrase

British
  • Outmaneuvered by a competitor or opponent; at a disadvantage.

    ‘Messi's early goal put Milan on the back foot’
    ‘the government found itself on the back foot as peaceful demonstrations continued’
    • ‘By the early summer of 1918, the German submarines were clearly on the back foot.’
    • ‘In early trading today the dollar was on the back foot in Asia after suffering its biggest one day decline in three years against the Japanese yen.’
    • ‘The polls may not show much change but the government gives all the appearances of being on the back foot.’
    • ‘The bank, unable to defend its position, has been on the back foot since news of the bid was leaked last Sunday.’
    • ‘Surprisingly Spurs didn't spend the rest of the night on the back foot.’
    • ‘In reply, Australia were immediately on the back foot with the loss of David Warner for one.’
    • ‘Crime is falling, gangland criminals are on the back foot and more gardai are on the beat than ever before.’
    • ‘His opponent, Leonardo Mayer, opted for an attacking game that put Murray on the back foot.’
    • ‘The exodus of people from the coastal areas of the city following media reports of a fresh tsunami on Monday night caught the administration on the back foot.’
    • ‘The Irish government appeared to be put on the back foot.’