backpedal

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backpedal

To quickly and often abruptly reverse or retreat from one's position or opinion on a given subject. Refers to pedaling backwards on a bicycle (done to apply the brakes on fixed-gear bikes), or to taking quick, backward steps, as in football or boxing. The actor had to backpedal when he let slip a racist remark during the press conference.
References in periodicals archive ?
Early works like Medea (1987) and Zentropa (1991) laid the cinematography on thick and backpedaled narrative into a rumpled sketch.
Some people, who were at one point very big enthusiasts of endothermy, have backpedaled quite furiously," says Farlow.
As fears grow of a potential global trade war, the Trump administration has backpedaled and is considering a larger blanket of exemptions.
MANILA -- The Commission on Elections (Comelec) appears to have backpedaled on its stance against holding satellite voter registration in churches on Sundays as proposed by the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), its citizen arm.
Apparently fearful of Sheldon's clout with California's few religious conservative voters, Simon immediately backpedaled, blaming the gay rights positions on campaign staffers.
So far, Gaskell has backpedaled on this--in spite of their uncanny range, her pictures have a smooth consumability.