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); figurative use of this for any flat, dull place is from 1899.
1. Quebec remained a backwater until the 1960s.
2. Britain could become a political backwater with no serious influence in the world.
3. It is a commonplace to say that Northern Ireland is a backwater in the modern Europe.
4. I find this town too much of a backwater.
5. Life in a backwater of Southern Russia have began to grow weary for the Moscoweducated couple.