walk back


post mod (English Only / Latin)
English - US
Term: walk back (verb)

(Possibly a specifically American English use.)

Your definition or explanation:
To retract a statement, or to explain it in a way that gives it another meaning.

Example: (An example of the term in use)

Sununu walks back comments about Powell and race

John Sununu is walking back his comment that Colin Powell only endorsed Barack Obama because they are both black.

One or more places you have seen the term: (Please give URLs/links to web pages, or a full description of a print publication.)

Zimmer CFO walks back earlier comments on impact of device tax. Will others join him?

Mass Device is reporting that Zimmer executive vice president of finance and chief financial officer James Crines is walking back earlier comments he made on the financial ramifications of the 2.3 percent excise tax.

Murdoch Walks Back on Celeb ‘Scumbags’ Tweet

(CNN) — When Rupert Murdoch fired off a tweet Saturday about some “scumbag celebrities” he didn’t mean “any particular people,” the Newscorp boss later tweeted.

(Below it means withdrawing a policy.)
Iran Walks Back Internet Censorship, Restores Gmail

After seriously flipping out, cutting of Iranian access to Google and basically herding all its citizens into a tiny little government-approved intra-net pen, the Iranian government has softened its Internet ban just a little bit and restored access to Gmail.

Have you looked for this term or meaning in dictionaries, and not found it? Yes __Yes, I have looked and found it only in Wiktionary__ No ___
Last edited:
  • ribran

    Senior Member
    English - American
    Hi Cagey,

    Some evidence that it's used outside the US: ...the narrative that Mitt Romney was riding a wave of momentum was tempered and in some cases walked back in the face of the unrelenting statistics.

    Source: BBC story


    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    (Ten years on)

    It's being used a lot these days in news reports from the English-speaking countries.
    walk back sth (Cambridge Dictionary)

    Today I saw it used adjectivally:
    Biden’s latest walked-back comment was made during his visit to Japan.
    BE Source: The accidental warmonger (Spiked Online)