backward

(redirected from backwardness)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

backward(s) about coming forward

Reticent or unwilling to voice one's opinion; shy. I've always been a bit backward about coming forward when it comes to my religious beliefs. Mary is in no way backward about coming forward; she'll tell you exactly what is on her mind.
See also: coming, forward

backward(s) and forward(s)

Back and forth; moving in one direction and then the opposite. Can be used literally to refer to something or someone moving in such a way, or figuratively to refer to a situation in which no progress is made (e.g., an argument). I was pacing backwards and forwards in my room last night, worrying about this morning's exam. The two candidates debated the gun laws backward and forward, but neither could offer a productive solution in the end.
See also: and

ass-backwards

Dysfunctional, regressive, and/or bizarre. The school board is so ass-backwards! Can you believe they took away our school's art program?

fall over backward

To expend a lot of energy or effort to do something; to inconvenience oneself. I can't believe how ungrateful you're being, especially since we fell over backward planning this dinner party for you! Please don't fall over backward preparing for my visit—I'm totally prepared to sleep on your floor!
See also: backward, fall, over

back and forth

1. adjective In one direction and then another in an alternating fashion. During the party, I went back and forth to the kitchen to get drinks for the guests. The kids are outside throwing the baseball back and forth. The union and management are still going back and forth in the contract negotiation.
2. noun An argument or discussion in which two or more people alternate in sharing their perspectives. They're having a real back and forth up there—can you hear them yelling? I think we should have a little back and forth before we make a final decision.
See also: and, back, forth

be (not) backward in coming forward

To be reluctant or hesitant to voice one's opinion. Primarily heard in UK, Australia. I should have known that Josh would criticize my entire paper—he's not backward in coming forward. Patty tends to be backward in coming forward, so I don't think she'll say anything tonight.
See also: backward, coming, forward

bend over backwards

1. Literally, to lean backwards. I'm so sore after bending over backwards and doing all those weird stretches at yoga this morning.
2. To exert a lot of effort towards some end. This phrase is often used to express frustration when one's efforts go unrecognized. I have been bending over backwards to make sure that you have a wonderful visit, and you don't even care! The entire staff really needs to bend over backwards while the CEO is visiting our office.
See also: backward, bend, over

know (something) backwards

To be extremely familiar with a particular subject, field, or piece of writing, film, music, etc. Primarily heard in UK. I've read this book so many times, I know it backwards. You should ask Samantha about the issue; she knows car engines backwards.
See also: backward, know

without a backward glance

Without any reservations, remorse, or regret. Often used to describe leaving a place or situation. Likened to literally leaving somewhere without turning around to look at it one last time. I could leave this town without a backward glance—there's no reason for me to stay here. I thought he really loved working here, so it was strange when he up and resigned without a backward glance.
See also: backward, glance, without

lean over backwards

1. Literally, to bend backwards. I'm so sore after leaning over backwards and doing all those weird stretches at yoga this morning.
2. To exert a lot of effort towards some end. This phrase is often used to express frustration when one's efforts go unrecognized. I have been leaning over backwards to make sure that you have a wonderful visit, and you don't even care! The entire staff really needs to lean over backwards while the CEO is visiting our office.
See also: backward, lean, over

know (something) backwards and forwards

To be extremely familiar with a particular subject, field, or piece of writing, film, music, etc. I've read this book so many times, I know it backwards and forwards. You should ask Samantha about the issue; she knows car engines backwards and forwards.
See also: and, backward, forwards, know

back and forth

in one direction and then the other repeatedly; from one place to another repeatedly. We tossed the ball back and forth between us. The tiger paced back and forth in its cage.
See also: and, back, forth

bend over backwards

(to do something) Go to fall over backwards (to do something).
See also: backward, bend, over

bend over backwards (to do something) (for someone)

Fig. to work very hard to accomplish something for someone; to go out of one's way (to do something) (for someone). He will bend over backwards to help you. I bent over backwards for you, and you showed no thanks!
See also: backward, bend, over

fall over backwards (to do something)

 and bend over backwards (to do something); lean over backwards (to do something)
Fig. to do everything possible to please someone. The taxi driver fell over backwards to be helpful. The teacher bent over backwards to help the students understand. You don't have to lean over backwards to get me to help. Just ask.
See also: backward, fall, over

know something backwards and forwards and know something forwards and backwards

Fig. to know something very well; to know a passage of language so well that one could recite it backwards as well as forwards. Of course I've memorized my speech. I know it backwards and forwards.
See also: and, backward, forwards, know

lean over backwards

(to do something) Go to fall over backwards (to do something).
See also: backward, lean, over

back and forth

Also, backward(s) and forward(s). To and fro, moving in one direction and then the opposite and so making no progress in either. For example, The clock pendulum swung back and forth. The term is also used figuratively, as in The lawyers argued the point backwards and forwards for an entire week. [c. 1600]
See also: and, back, forth

backward and forward

Also, backwards and forwards.
1. Same as back and forth.
2. Thoroughly, completely, as in He read the speech over and over, until he knew it backwards and forwards. [Late 1500s]
See also: and, backward, forward

bend over backwards

Also, lean over backwards. Exert oneself to the fullest extent, as in Dad bent over backwards so as not to embarrass Stasia's new boyfriend. This phrase transfers the gymnastic feat of a backbend to taking a great deal of trouble for someone or something. [c. 1920] Also see under fall all over.
See also: backward, bend, over

fall all over oneself

Also, fall over backwards. Make an inordinate effort to do something, try very hard or eagerly. For example, They fell all over themselves to be helpful, but only got in the way, or She fell over backwards trying to please her boss, but it got her nowhere. The first of these hyperbolic expressions dates from the late 1800s, the second from the mid-1900s.
See also: all, fall, over

know like a book

Also, know like the back of one's hand or know backwards and forwards. Be extremely familiar with or knowledgeable about; understand perfectly. For example, I know Greg like a book-I'm sure he'll come, or I know this town like the back of my hand, or John knew his part backwards and forwards. The first of these hyperbolic idioms, dating from the early 1800s, has a close cousin in read like a book, which means "to discern someone's intent," as in I can read Greg like a book; also see under open book. The second ( back of hand) dates only from the mid-1900s. Also see backwards and forwards, def. 2; inside out, def. 2; know all the answers.
See also: book, know, like

bend over backwards

or

bend over backward

COMMON If you bend over backwards or bend over backward, you try very hard to help or please someone, even though it causes you trouble. We bent over backwards to make them feel welcome and they didn't thank us once. Note: You can also say that someone leans over backwards or leans over backward. You've done your duty — you've leaned over backwards. She has nothing to complain about.
See also: backward, bend, over

know something backwards

mainly BRITISH or

know something backwards and forwards

mainly AMERICAN
If you know a subject backwards, you know a lot about it. I thoroughly enjoy lecturing and know my subject backwards. He will be very much in demand. He knows the business backwards. They know company personnel policy backwards and forwards.
See also: backward, know, something

bend over backwards to do something

make every effort, especially to be fair or helpful. informal

know something backwards

be entirely familiar with something.
1991 William Trevor Reading Turgenev People who lived in the town knew it backwards.
See also: backward, know, something

bend/lean over ˈbackwards to do something

try very hard to help or please somebody: I’ve bent over backwards to be nice to her, but she’s pushed me too far now.

ˌback and ˈforth

(also ˌbackwards and ˈforwards) in one direction and then in the opposite one, repeatedly: The rope swung back and forth from the branch.She travels backwards and forwards between the factory and head office.
See also: and, back, forth

know somebody/something ˈbackwards

(informal, especially British English) know somebody/something extremely well: He must know the play backwards by now — he’s seen it six times!
References in periodicals archive ?
The court said though the Centre is empowered under the constitutional scheme to provide reservation to a particular class, it cannot be permitted to do so on the basis of a decade- old- finding about the backwardness of a caste.
Yassin in his condemnatory chapter says the result of this Arab backwardness is the emergence of a number of social, political and psychological phenomenon, most notably alienation from politics.
Britain is then the midwife of the sea of religious backwardness now called the Middle East and the inevitable violence that emanates from it.
Thus Catala-Roca's images of Barcelona (much more numerous, thanks to the photographer's direct connection with the city) reflect a sophisticated metropolis on its way to modernity, while those of Madrid place it in a postwar era characterized by poverty and backwardness.
It is as if the problem were, to put it in plain terms, if Islam was responsible for the glory of medieval Islamic civilization and the emergence of hundreds of scientists who taught not only Muslims but also Europeans, then why is the same Islam not creating the same circumstances of scientific efflorescence today (or, to put the second question negatively, why is Islam responsible for the decay and scientific backwardness that one sees today in the Islamic world).
And even as we have this poverty and backwardness, we are facing a global environmental crisis.
THE decision by the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board to delay the final approval of a permit for the expansion of Sunshine Canyon Landfill in Granada Hills so health concerns can be examined was an example of the backwardness of government.
To many British observers, the case confirmed suspicions about the backwardness of the Irish.
Ultimately, the choice between a Gilderian vision of unlimited abundance with no constraints other than the speed of light and span of life, and Dertouzos' impatience with our backwardness, in which we humans are the constraints, can serve as inspiration for investment and invention.
Egyptian author Salaheddin Mohesin was sentenced on January 27 by the Giza State Security Court to three years' imprisonment with hard labor for his unpopular writings in which he mocks the Qur'an, blames Islam for the backwardness of some Arab countries, and calls for the establishment of an Egyptian atheist association.
It is quite a lesson to realize that poverty does not mean backwardness,' says Lomastro.
The region is second only to the North-east in linguistic backwardness and is almost certainly losing business as a result, says a new survey.
This has led to the dichotomization of cultural perception, where the historic heritage - cultural, religious, spiritual - is identified with the past, backwardness and poverty, while the image of "progress" is borrowed from elsewhere, namely the West'.
The Welsh seem to be poorer and therefore different, due to what seems to be their backwardness.
Yergin, president of Cambridge Energy Research Associates, adds that the Soviet oil industry, the world's largest, is "in big trouble that is getting bigger," a crises brought on by inefficiency, low productivity, poor organization, technological backwardness, waste and environmental neglect -- and sharp cuts in investment.