Word of the Day



1. comments about how well or how badly someone is doing something, which are intended to help them do it better
2. the high loud noise that electrical equipment makes when part of the sound that it sends out goes back into it

Origin and usage

The word feedback is a combination of the verb ‘feed’ and the adverb ‘back’. In its current form, feedback is a relatively modern word, having been used since about 1920 to describe the noise produced by a piece of electronic equipment and only since 1955 to describe comments about how well or how badly someone is doing a task.


Feedback refers to either a loud, unpleasant noise sometimes caused by electronic equipment or to comments a person receives about their performance at a particular job or activity.

In terms of rating performance, feedback can be good or bad. Positive feedback when a job has been done well is always nice to hear. Negative feedback, on the other hand, can be difficult to take: nobody wants to be told they’ve done a bad job or could have done something better.

Responding properly to negative feedback is an important skill. Though it is hard to hear, comments about how a job could have been done better can actually be very useful. Negative feedback gives clues about ways a person or company may be able to improve their performance and do a better job next time.

When responding to negative feedback, a person should try not to get angry or upset. They should take their time before reacting, gather as much information about the problem as possible, and try to communicate with the person giving negative feedback in order to improve future performance.

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

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Macmillan Dictionary

Macmillan Dictionary

Macmillan Dictionary is an award-winning, one-stop reference for English learners and speakers around the world.

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