Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Sports A swimming stroke performed on one's back, especially one using alternating overarm strokes and a flutter kick.
  • n. Sports A race or a leg of a race in which this stroke is swum.
  • n. A backhanded stroke or motion.
  • n. A stroke or motion in the direction of an original starting point: a saw that cuts on the backstroke.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A swimming stroke swum lying on one's back, while rotating both arms through the water as to propel the swimmer backwards.
  • n. The pull on the tail of the rope that swings the bell through a full circle (compare handstroke)
  • v. To swim the backstroke.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. a swimming stroke that resembles the crawl except the swimmer lies on his or her back. It is usually executed with backward-moving circular arm strokes and a flutter kick.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A blow or stroke in return.
  • n. A backhanded stroke; a back-hander.
  • n. In telegraphy, the return-stroke of the lever in a telegraph-sounder.
  • n. Diastolic impulse of the heart, a faint beat occurring as the blood enters the ventricles.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. swim on one's back
  • n. a swimming stroke that resembles the crawl except the swimmer lies on his or her back

Etymologies

back +‎ stroke (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • "It's a good confidence booster to know that the backstroke is there," Phelps said.

    Phelps wins three events, eyes US Trials

  • In each, Ogawa deploys an precise style that maintains an eerie distance between the narrator and event, her words clinical and charged with meaning, always leading with a slow build that concludes with a twist – although backstroke is probably more apt.

    Yoko Ogawa

  • The performances churned chatter about the Spitz standard, and Thorpe fed it by testing himself in backstroke and IM events.

    USATODAY.com - Phelps vs. Thorpe has big buildup

  • Lenny Krayzelburg, the American who holds the world record of 24.99 in the 50 backstroke, is recovering from shoulder surgery and is not competing.

    USATODAY.com - Crocker sets world record in 100-meter butterfly

  • I trusted she knew what she was doing even when she weaved between the couples doing what I could only call the backstroke, but out of water.

    Archive 2006-10-01

  • "The backstroke is my best stroke, but the 100-yard isn't my best event," said Dempsey, who also finished 10th in the 200 individual medley (in 1: 58.53) at state this year.

    OnlineAthens: Top Headlines

  • His time of 1 minute, 1.52 seconds in the backstroke was a state qualifying mark.

    The Bellingham Herald: Sports News

  • Wyomissing sophomore Katie Duggan is eighth in the 100 backstroke, which is where she finished last year.

    Berks county news

  • Her time in the backstroke was a new state-qualifying mark.

    The Bellingham Herald: Sports News

  • Then it swings back in the opposite direction as the ringer pulls the tail-end of the rope towards the floor (the "backstroke").

    Cocktail Party Physics

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