backward, backwards

The first of these terms is generally preferred to mean "toward the back or rear," "in the reverse," "retrogressive," or "bashful." It can always be used in these meanings, whereas backwards is improper in a sentence such as "Jack was a backwards youth." One can move forward or backward or backwards, but why not use the shorter form in every instance?

Dictionary of problem words and expressions. . 1975.

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  • backward — backward, backwards 1. For the adverb, both forms are in use, although backward is somewhat more common in AmE and backwards in BrE: • Talk ran backward from the events of the morning A. Munro, CanE 1987 • I walked backward to look at her in the… …   Modern English usage

  • backwards — backward, backwards 1. For the adverb, both forms are in use, although backward is somewhat more common in AmE and backwards in BrE: • Talk ran backward from the events of the morning A. Munro, CanE 1987 • I walked backward to look at her in the… …   Modern English usage

  • backward — 1. adjective 1) a backward look Syn: rearward, to/toward the rear, to/toward the back, behind one, reverse Ant: forward 2) the decision was a backward step Syn: retrograde, retrogressive …   Thesaurus of popular words

  • backwards — See backward, backwards …   Dictionary of problem words and expressions

  • backward — See backward, backwards …   Dictionary of problem words and expressions

  • Backward running — Backward running, also known as backwards running, running backwards, reverse running, retro running, or retro locomotion is the act of running in reverse, so that one travels in the direction one s back is facing rather than one s front. It is… …   Wikipedia

  • Backward induction — is the process of reasoning backwards in time, from the end of a problem or situation, to determine a sequence of optimal actions. It proceeds by first considering the last time a decision might be made and choosing what to do in any situation at …   Wikipedia

  • backward masking and illusions —    Backward masking is also known as backwards masking and backmasking. All three terms are used in the popular music industry to denote a recording technique in which an auditory message is encrypted by recording it in reverse order onto a track …   Dictionary of Hallucinations

  • Backwards — Backward Back ward, Backwards Back wards, adv. [Back, adv. + ward.] 1. With the back in advance or foremost; as, to ride backward. [1913 Webster] 2. Toward the back; toward the rear; as, to throw the arms backward. [1913 Webster] 3. On the back,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Backward — Back ward, Backwards Back wards, adv. [Back, adv. + ward.] 1. With the back in advance or foremost; as, to ride backward. [1913 Webster] 2. Toward the back; toward the rear; as, to throw the arms backward. [1913 Webster] 3. On the back, or with… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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