Backwards vs Backwardsness - What's the difference?

backwards | backwardsness |

As an adjective backwards

is oriented toward the back.

As an adverb backwards

is toward the back.

As a noun backwardsness is

backwardness; the state of being backwards.

Other Comparisons: What's the difference?



Alternative forms

* backward


(en adjective)
  • Oriented toward the back.
  • The battleship had three backwards guns at the stern, in addition to the primary complement .
  • Reversed.
  • The backwards lettering on emergency vehicles makes it possible to read in the rear-view mirror.
  • (derogatory) Behind current trends or technology.
  • Modern medicine regards the use of leeches as a backwards practice.
  • Clumsy, inept, or inefficient.
  • He was a very backwards scholar, but he was a marvel on the football field.

    Usage notes

    * In senses 3 and 4, and often in American English, backward is preferred.


    * (oriented toward the back) * (reversed) mirror image, switched, back to front * (behind current trends or technology) crude, dated, obsolete, primitive * awkward, fumbling, incompetent, poor


    (en adverb)
  • Toward the back.
  • The cabinet toppled over backwards .
    Life is lived forwards, but understood backwards . —Søren Kierkegaard
  • In the opposite direction to usual.
  • The clock did not work because the battery was inserted backwards .
  • In a manner such that the back precedes the front.
  • The tour guide walked backwards while droning on to the bored seniors.

    Usage notes

    * In written American English, backward is more common. * Strictly speaking, backwards'' is an adverb and ''backward is an adjective in British English; in American English, the rule may be reversed. This follows the same usage for similar words ending in -ward/-wards and -way/-ways. See also -wise. *: It was a backward move'' vs ''He moved backwards * Also, even though an adverb may be used in adjectival combinations (eg a quickly moving car ), only the -ward forms are commonly used in adjectival combinations, e.g.: *: A backward-facing statue. / A backward facing statue.


    * (toward the back) hindwards, rearward, retrograde * (in the opposite direction of usual) contrariwise, reversedly * (so that the back precedes the front) back to front, in reverse

    Derived terms

    * backwards and forwards






  • Backwardness; the state of being backwards.