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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Definitions of backward from WordNet
backward (adj.)
directed or facing toward the back or rear;
a backward view
backward (adj.)
(used of temperament or behavior) marked by a retiring nature;
a backward lover
backward (adj.)
retarded in intellectual development;
Synonyms: half-witted / slow-witted / feebleminded
backward (adj.)
having made less than normal progress;
an economically backward country
backward (adv.)
at or to or toward the back or rear;
tripped when he stepped backward
Synonyms: back / backwards / rearward / rearwards
backward (adv.)
in a manner or order or direction the reverse of normal;
the child put her jersey on backward
it's easy to get the `i' and the `e' backward in words like `seize' and `siege'
Synonyms: backwards
backward (adv.)
in or to or toward a past time;
lovers of the past looking fondly backward
Synonyms: back