Etymology
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back-to-nature (adj.)
1915, from the adverbial phrase.
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backtrack (v.)
also back-track, "retrace one's steps," figuratively by 1896, from literal sense, with reference to hunted foxes; see back (adv.) + track (v.). Related: Backtracked; backtracking.
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backup (n.)
"a standby, a reserve," 1952; see back up (v.). Specific reference to computing is from 1965.
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backward (adv.)
"with the face to the rear, in the direction behind," c. 1300, from abakward, from Old English on bæc (see back (adv.), and compare aback) + -weard adjectival and adverbial suffix (see -ward).

Old English had the adverb bæcling. As an adjective, from 1550s. Meaning "behindhand with regard to progress" is first attested 1690s. To ring bells backward (from lowest to highest), c. 1500, was a signal of alarm for fire or invasion, or to express dismay. Another Middle English word for "backward, wrongly" was arseward (c. 1400); Old English had earsling.
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backwardness (n.)

"state or quality of being backward" in any sense, 1580s, from backward + -ness.

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backwards (adv.)
1510s, from backward with adverbial genitive -s. Figurative phrase bend over backwards is recorded from 1901.
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backwash (n.)

1861, "motion of a receding wave;" see back (adv.) + wash (v.). As "residue in a glass or bottle of beer after drinking most of it," by 1897.

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backwater (n.)
also back-water, late 14c., "water behind a dam," from back (adj.) + water (n.1). Hence flat water without a current near a flowing river, as in a mill race (1820); figurative use of this for any flat, dull place is from 1879.
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backwoods (n.)

"wooded or partially uncleared and unsettled districts in remote regions," 1709, North American English; see back (adj.) + wood (n.) in the sense "forested tract." As an adjective, from 1784.

BACKWOODSMEN. ... This word is commonly used as a term of reproach (and that, only in a familiar style,) to designate those people, who, being at a distance from the sea and entirely agricultural, are considered as either hostile or indifferent to the interests of the commercial states. [John Pickering, "A Vocabulary, or Collection of Words and Phrases Which Have Been Supposed to be Peculiar to the United States of America," Boston, 1816]
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backyard (n.)
also back-yard, "plot of ground at the rear of a house," 1650s (perhaps early 15c.), from back (adj.) + yard (n.1).
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