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  1. An apostate; one who falls from the faith and practice of religion. – Prov. xiv.
  2. One who neglects his vows of obedience and falls into sin.


The act of apostatizing from faith or practice; a falling insensibly from religion into sin or idolatry. – Jer. v. 6.


The state of backsliding.

BACK'STAFF, n. [back and staff, so called from its being used with the observer's back toward the sun.]

A quadrant; an instrument for taking the sun's altitude at sea; called also, from its inventor, Davis's quadrant. – Encyc.

BACK'STAIRS, n. [back and stairs.]

Stairs in the back part of a house; private stairs; and figuratively, a private or indirect way.

BACK'STAYS, n. [back and stay.]

Long ropes or stays extending from the top-mast heads to both sides of a ship, to assist the shrouds in supporting the mast, when strained by a weight of sail, and prevent it from giving way and falling overboard. – Mar. Dict.


The heated stone on which oat-cake is baked. – North of England.

BACK'SWORD, n. [back and sword.]

A sword with one sharp edge. In England, a stick with a basket handle, used in rustic amusements. – Arbuthnot.


  1. Unwilling; averse; reluctant; hesitating. For wiser brutes are backward to be slaves. – Pope.
  2. Slow; sluggish; dilatory. The mind is backward to undergo the fatigue of weighing every argument. – Watts.
  3. Dull; not quick of apprehension; behind in progress; as, a backward learner.
  4. Late; behind in time; coming after something else, or after the usual time; as, backward fruits; the season is backward.

BACK'WARD, adv. [back and ward. See Ward.]

  1. With the back in advance; as, to move backward.
  2. Toward the back; as, to throw the arms backward; to move backward, and forward.
  3. On the back, or with the back downward; as, to fall backward.
  4. Toward past times or events; as, to look backward on the history of man.
  5. By way of reflection; reflexively. – Davies.
  6. From a better to a worse state; as, public affairs go backward.
  7. In time past; as, let us look some ages backward.
  8. Perversely; from a wrong end. I never yet saw man but she would spell him backward. – Shak.
  9. Toward the beginning; in an order contrary to the natural order; as, to read backward.
  10. In a scriptural sense, to go or turn backward, is to rebel, apostatize, or relapse into sin or idolatry. – Is. i.
  11. Contrarily; in a contrary manner. – Swift. To be driven or turned backward, is to be defeated, or disappointed. – Ps. xl. To turn judgment backward, is to pervert justice and laws. – Is. lix.


The things or state behind or past. In the dark backward or abysm of time. – Shak. [Not proper, nor in use.]


Unwillingly; reluctantly; aversely; perversely.


  1. Unwillingness; reluctance; dilatoriness, or dullness in action.
  2. A state of being behind in progress; slowness; tardiness; as, the backwardness of the spring.


In the United States, an inhabitant of the forest on the western frontier.

BACK'WORM, n. [back and worm.]

A small worm, in a thin skin, in the reins of a hawk. [See Filanders.] – Encyc.

BA'CON, n. [ba'kn; W. baccum; Ir. bogun. In old charters, boca. Cowel. In Ger. bache, is a wild sow.]

Hog's flesh salted or pickled and dried, usually in smoke. To save one's bacon, is to preserve one's self from harm.


Pertaining to Lord Bacon, or to his system of philosophy.

BAC'ULE, n. [Fr. bascule.]

In fortification, a kind of portcullis or gate, made like a pitfall, with a counterpoise, and supported by two great stakes. – Encyc.

BAC'U-LITE, n. [L. baculus.]

A genus of fossil shells, of a straight form, a little conical, in their cellular structure resembling the ammonites. – Edin. Encyc.

BAC-U-LOM'E-TRY, n. [L. baculus, a staff, and Gr. μετρον, measure.]

The act of measuring distance or altitude by a staff or staffs. – Bailey. Johnson.


the past tense of bid. See Bid.

BAD, a. [Pers. بَدْ‎‎ bad, evil, depraved; allied perhaps to Ar. بَادَ bada. Heb. Ch. Syr. and Sam. אבד abad, to perish or destroy.]

  1. Ill; evil; opposed to good; a word of general use, denoting physical defects and moral faults, in men and things; as, a bad man, a bad heart, a bad design, bad air, bad water, bad books.
  2. Vicious; corrupt; depraved, in a moral sense; as, a bad life; a bad action.
  3. Unwholesome; as, bad provisions.
  4. Unfortunate; unprosperous; as, a bad state of affairs.
  5. Unskillful; as, a bad player.
  6. Small; poor; as, a bad crop.
  7. Infirm; as, a bad state of health.
  8. Feeble, corrupt, or oppressive; as, a bad government.
  9. Hurtful; pernicious; as, fine print is bad for the eyes.
  10. Unfavorable; as, a bad season.
  11. Poor; steril; as, a bad soil.
  12. Rough or muddy; as, a bad road. In short, bad expresses whatever is injurious, hurtful, inconvenient, unlawful or immoral; whatever is offensive, painful or unfavorable; or what is defective.

BADGE, n. [I know not the affinities of this word, not having found it in any other language. Probably it belongs to class Bg.]

  1. A mark, sign, token, or thing, by which a person is distinguished, in a particular place or employment, and designating his relation to a person or to a particular occupation; as, the badge of authority.
  2. The mark or token of any thing; as, the badge of bitterness. – Shak.
  3. An ornament on ships, near the stern, decorated with figures.

BADGE, v.t.

To mark, or distinguish with a badge. – Shak.


Having no badge. – Bp. Hall.