Backward in coming forward


      • shy or hesitant in social situations
        Used to describe someone who is hesitant or reluctant to engage in social interactions or speak up in a group setting.

      • reserved or introverted
        Can also be used to describe someone who is quiet and reserved, preferring to keep to themselves rather than being outgoing or talkative.

      • lacking assertiveness
        Can also refer to someone who lacks assertiveness or confidence in their actions or decisions, often needing to be encouraged or pushed by others.

    Examples of Backward in coming forward

    • Although Jane was brilliant, she was backward in coming forward when praise was due, often deflecting compliments.

      Jane was hesitant to accept praise, showing modesty or a lack of confidence in her achievements.

    • Despite having innovative ideas, Tom is somewhat backward in coming forward in meetings.

      Tom is reluctant or shy to share his ideas during discussions.

    • "You can't be backward in coming forward if you want to lead the team," the coach said to the new captain.

      The coach emphasizes the need for the captain to be assertive and proactive.

    • Sarah’s coworkers noticed she was backward in coming forward during brainstorming sessions.

      Sarah tends not to volunteer her ideas or participate actively in group discussions.

    • I've noticed you're backward in coming forward about your musical talents; why not play something for us?

      The speaker is encouraging someone who is modest or shy about their music skills to demonstrate their ability.

    • As a mentor, I encourage my mentees not to be backward in coming forward with any concerns they might have.

      Mentees are urged to be open and communicative about their issues or doubts.

    • When it came to negotiating salaries, he was not backward in coming forward with his demands.

      He was assertive and clear about his salary expectations.

    • "Don't be backward in coming forward; we value your input," the manager reassured the new employee.

      The manager is encouraging the new employee to speak up and participate more.


    The idiom "backward in coming forward" is typically used to describe someone who is shy, reserved, or hesitant in social situations. It can also refer to someone who lacks assertiveness or confidence in their actions. Overall, the phrase suggests a reluctance or hesitancy to put oneself out there or take the lead in a social setting.

    Origin of "Backward in coming forward"

    The origin of this idiom is not entirely clear, but it is believed to have originated in England during the 19th century. The phrase likely comes from the idea of walking backwards, which can be seen as a hesitant or awkward way of moving. This use of "backward" to mean hesitant or awkward can also be seen in other idioms such as "take a backward step" or "move backward."

    The addition of "coming forward" in this idiom may have been influenced by the phrase "step forward," which refers to taking action or being proactive. By using "coming" instead of "stepping," the phrase emphasizes the idea of moving forward in a social context. Overall, the phrase likely originated as a way to describe someone who is hesitant or awkward in social situations, but has since come to encompass a broader range of meanings related to shyness and lack of assertiveness.