Webster's Dictionary, 1913

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Backstaff noun An instrument formerly used for taking the altitude of the heavenly bodies, but now superseded by the quadrant and sextant; -- so called because the observer turned his back to the body observed.

Backstairs, Backstair adjective Private; indirect; secret; intriguing; -- as if finding access by the back stairs.

A backstairs influence.
Burke.

Female caprice and backstair influence.
Trevelyan.

Backstay (-stā`) noun [ Back , adjective or noun + stay .]
1. (Nautical) A rope or stay extending from the masthead to the side of a ship, slanting a little aft, to assist the shrouds in supporting the mast. [ Often used in the plural.]

2. A rope or strap used to prevent excessive forward motion.

Backster noun [ See Baxter .] A baker. [ Obsolete]

Backstitch noun [ Back , adverb + stitch .] A stitch made by setting the needle back of the end of the last stitch, and bringing it out in front of the end.

Backstitch transitive verb To sew with backstitches; as, to backstitch a seam.

Backstop noun
1. In baseball, a fence, prop. at least 90 feet behind the home base, to stop the balls that pass the catcher; also, the catcher himself.

2. In rounders, the player who stands immediately behind the striking base.

3. In cricket, the longstop; also, the wicket keeper.

Backstress noun A female baker. [ Obsolete]

Backsword noun [ 2d back , noun + sword .]
1. A sword with one sharp edge.

2. In England, a stick with a basket handle, used in rustic amusements; also, the game in which the stick is used. Also called singlestick . Halliwell.

Backward adjective
1. Directed to the back or rear; as, backward glances.

2. Unwilling; averse; reluctant; hesitating; loath.

For wiser brutes were backward to be slaves.
Pope.

3. Not well advanced in learning; not quick of apprehension; dull; inapt; as, a backward child. "The backward learner." South.

4. Late or behindhand; as, a backward season.

5. Not advanced in civilization; undeveloped; as, the country or region is in a backward state.

6. Already past or gone; bygone. [ R.]

And flies unconscious o'er each backward year.
Byron.

Backward noun The state behind or past. [ Obsolete]

In the dark backward and abysm of time.
Shak.

Backward transitive verb To keep back; to hinder. [ Obsolete]

Backward, Backwards adverb [ Back , adverb + -ward .]
1. With the back in advance or foremost; as, to ride backward .

2. Toward the back; toward the rear; as, to throw the arms backward .

3. On the back, or with the back downward.

Thou wilt fall backward .
Shak.

4. Toward, or in, past time or events; ago.

Some reigns backward .
Locke.

5. By way of reflection; reflexively. Sir J. Davies.

6. From a better to a worse state, as from honor to shame, from religion to sin.

The work went backward .
Dryden.

7. In a contrary or reverse manner, way, or direction; contrarily; as, to read backwards .

We might have . . . beat them backward home.
Shak.

Backwardation noun [ Backward , transitive verb + -ation .] (Stock Exchange) The seller's postponement of delivery of stock or shares, with the consent of the buyer, upon payment of a premium to the latter; -- also, the premium so paid. See Contango . Biddle.

Backwardly adverb
1. Reluctantly; slowly; aversely. [ Obsolete] Sir P. Sidney.

2. Perversely; ill. [ Obsolete]

And does he think so backwardly of me?
Shak.

Backwardness noun The state of being backward.

Backwash transitive verb To clean the oil from (wool) after combing. Ash.

Backwater noun [ Back , adjective or adverb + -water .]
1. Water turned back in its course by an obstruction, an opposing current, or the flow of the tide, as in a sewer or river channel, or across a river bar.

2. An accumulation of water overflowing the low lands, caused by an obstruction.

3. Water thrown back by the turning of a waterwheel, or by the paddle wheels of a steamer.

Backwoods noun plural [ Back , adjective + woods .] The forests or partly cleared grounds on the frontiers.

Backwoodsman noun ; plural Backwoodsmen A man living in the forest in or beyond the new settlements, especially on the western frontiers of the older portions of the United States. Fisher Ames.

Backworm noun [ 2d back , noun + worm .] A disease of hawks. See Filanders . Wright.

Bacon noun [ Old French bacon , from Old High German bacho , bahho , flitch of bacon, ham; akin to English back . Confer Back the back side.] The back and sides of a pig salted and smoked; formerly, the flesh of a pig salted or fresh.

Bacon beetle (Zoology) , a beetle ( Dermestes lardarius ) which, especially in the larval state, feeds upon bacon, woolens, furs, etc. See Dermestes . -- To save one's bacon , to save one's self or property from harm or loss. [ Colloq.]

Baconian adjective Of or pertaining to Lord Bacon, or to his system of philosophy.

Baconian method , the inductive method. See Induction .

Baconian noun
1. One who adheres to the philosophy of Lord Bacon.

2. One who maintains that Lord Bacon is the author of the works commonly attributed to Shakespeare.

Bacteria noun plural See Bacterium .

Bacterial adjective (Biol.) Of or pertaining to bacteria.

Bactericidal adjective Destructive of bacteria.

Bactericide (băk*tē"rĭ*sīd) noun [ Bacterium + Latin caedere to kill] (Biol.) Same as Germicide .

Bacterin noun (Medicine) A bacterial vaccine.

Bacteriological (băk*tē`rĭ*o*lŏj"ĭ*k a l) adjective Of or pertaining to bacteriology; as, bacteriological studies.

Bacteriologist noun One skilled in bacteriology.

Bacteriology noun [ Bacterium + -logy .] (Biol.) The science relating to bacteria.

Bacteriolysis noun [ New Latin ; from Greek ..., ..., a staff + ... a loosing.]
1. Chemical decomposition brought about by bacteria without the addition of oxygen.

2. The destruction or dissolution of bacterial cells. -- Bac*te`ri*o*lyt"ic adjective

Bacterioscopic adjective (Biol.) Relating to bacterioscopy; as, a bacterioscopic examination.

Bacterioscopist noun (Biol.) One skilled in bacterioscopic examinations.

Bacterioscopy (-ŏs"ko*pȳ) noun [ Bacterium + -scopy .] (Biol.) The application of a knowledge of bacteria for their detection and identification, as in the examination of polluted water.

Bacterioscopy noun [ Greek ..., ..., a staff + ... to view.] Microscopic examination or investigation of bacteria. -- Bac*te`ri*o*scop"ic adjective -- *scop"ic*al*ly adverb -- Bac*te`ri*os"co*pist noun

Bacterium noun ; plural Bacteria [ New Latin , from Greek bakth`rion , bak`tron , a staff: confer French bactérie .] (Biol.) A microscopic vegetable organism, belonging to the class Algæ, usually in the form of a jointed rodlike filament, and found in putrefying organic infusions. Bacteria are destitute of chlorophyll, and are the smallest of microscopic organisms. They are very widely diffused in nature, and multiply with marvelous rapidity, both by fission and by spores. Certain species are active agents in fermentation, while others appear to be the cause of certain infectious diseases. See Bacillus .

Bacteroid, Bacteroidal adjective [ Bacterium + -oid .] (Biol.) Resembling bacteria; as, bacteroid particles.

Bactrian adjective Of or pertaining to Bactria in Asia. -- noun A native of Bactria.

Bactrian camel , the two-humped camel.

Bacule noun [ French] (Fort.) See Bascule .

Baculine adjective [ Latin baculum staff.] Of or pertaining to the rod or punishment with the rod.

Baculite noun [ Latin baculum stick, staff; confer French baculite .] (Paleon.) A cephalopod of the extinct genus Baculites , found fossil in the Cretaceous rocks. It is like an uncoiled ammonite.

Baculometry noun [ Latin baculum staff + -metry .] Measurement of distance or altitude by a staff or staffs.

Bad (băd) imperfect of Bid . Bade. [ Obsolete] Dryden.

Bad (băd) adjective [ Compar. Worse (wûs); superl. Worst (wûst).] [ Probably from Anglo-Saxon bæddel hermaphrodite; confer bædling effeminate fellow.] Wanting good qualities, whether physical or moral; injurious, hurtful, inconvenient, offensive, painful, unfavorable, or defective, either physically or morally; evil; vicious; wicked; -- the opposite of good ; as, a bad man; bad conduct; bad habits; bad soil; bad air; bad health; a bad crop; bad news.

Sometimes used substantively.

The strong antipathy of good to bad .
Pope.

Syn. -- Pernicious; deleterious; noxious; baneful; injurious; hurtful; evil; vile; wretched; corrupt; wicked; vicious; imperfect.

Bad lands Barren regions, especially in the western United States, where horizontal strata (Tertiary deposits) have been often eroded into fantastic forms, and much intersected by cañons, and where lack of wood, water, and forage increases the difficulty of traversing the country, whence the name, first given by the Canadian French, Mauvaises Terres (bad lands).

Badaud noun [ French] A person given to idle observation of everything, with wonder or astonishment; a credulous or gossipy idler.

A host of stories . . . dealing chiefly with the subject of his great wealth, an ever delightful topic to the badauds of Paris.
Pall Mall Mag.

Badder compar. of Bad , adjective [ Obsolete] Chaucer.

Badderlocks noun [ Perh. for Balderlocks , from Balder the Scandinavian deity.] (Botany) A large black seaweed ( Alaria esculenta ) sometimes eaten in Europe; -- also called murlins , honeyware , and henware .