Etymology
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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); the figurative use of this for any flat, dull place is from 1879.

updated on October 02, 2022

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Definitions of backwater from WordNet

backwater (n.)
a body of water that was created by a flood or tide or by being held or forced back by a dam;
the bayous and backwaters are breeding grounds for mosquitos
backwater (n.)
a place or condition in which no development or progress is occurring;
the country is an economic backwater
Etymologies are not definitions. From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.