Dictionary > English Dictionary > Definition, synonym and antonym of Back
Meaning of back by Wiktionary Dictionary


    frequency based on Project Gutenberg corpus">Most common English words: think « life « went « #132: back » under » same » take


    Old English bæc, from Proto-Germanic *bakom. The adverb represents an aphetic form of aback .


    • ( UK, US ) IPA: /bæk/, SAMPA: /b{k/
      Rhymes: -æk


    back ( not comparable )

    1. Near the rear .
      Go in the back door of the house .
    2. Not current .
      I’d like to find a back issue of that magazine .
    3. Far from the main area .
      They took a back road .
      That chore has been in the back of my mind for weeks .
    4. ( comparable ) ( phonetics ) Produced in the back of the mouth .
      "U" in "rude" is a back vowel .




    back ( comparative further back, superlative furthest back )

    1. ( Not comparable ) To or in a previous condition or place .
      He gave back the money .
      He needs his money back
      He was on vacation, but now he’s back .
      The office fell into chaos when you left, but now order is back .
    2. Away from the front or from an edge .
      Sit all the way back in your chair .
      Step back from the curb .
    3. In a manner that impedes .
      Fear held him back .


    back ( plural: backs )

    1. The rear of body, especially the part between the neck and the end of the spine and opposite the chest and belly .
      Could you please scratch my back?
    2. The spine and associated tissues .
      I hurt my back lifting that dictionary .
    3. The side of any object which is opposite the front or useful side .
      Turn the book over and look at the back .
    4. The reverse side; the side that is not normally seen .
      I hung the clothes on the back of the door .
    5. That which is farthest away from the front .
      He sat in the back of the room .
    6. Area behind, such as the backyard of a house
      We'll meet out in the back of the library .
    7. The part of something that goes last .
      The car was near the back of the train .
    8. The side of a blade opposite the side used for cutting .
      Tap it with the back of your knife .
    9. The part of a piece of clothing which covers the back .
      I still need to finish the back of your dress .
    10. The edge of a book which is bound .
      The titles are printed on the backs of the books .
    11. The backrest, the part of a piece of furniture which receives the human back .
      Can you fix the back of this chair?
    12. ( figuratively ) Upper part of a natural object which is considered to resemble an animal's back .
      The small boat raced over the backs of the waves .
    13. ( obsolete ) That part of the body that bears clothing.
    14. ( sports ) In some team sports, a position behind most players on the team .
      The backs were lined up in an I formation .
    15. ( nautical ) The keel and keelson of a ship .
      The ship's back broke in the pounding surf .
    16. ( printing ) The inside margin of a page.
    17. ( mining ) The roof of a horizontal underground passage.
    18. ( slang, uncountable ) Effort, usually physical .
      Put some back into it!
    19. ( slang, uncountable ) Large and attractive buttocks.
    20. A non-alcoholic drink ( often water or a soft drink ), to go with hard liquor or a cocktail.
      • Could I get a martini with a water back?


    Coordinate terms


    to back ( third-person singular simple present backs present participle backing, simple past and past participle backed )

    1. To go in the reverse direction .
      The train backed into the station .
    2. To support .
      I back you all the way .
    3. ( nautical, of the wind ) the change direction contrary to its normal pattern ( anticlockwise in the northern hemisphere, clockwise in the southern )
    4. ( nautical, of a square sail ) to brace the yards so that the wind presses on the front of the sail, to slow the ship
    5. ( nautical, of an anchor ) to lay out a second, smaller anchor to provide additional holding power


    Derived terms


    By Wiktionary ( 2012/08/13 15:31 UTC Version )


    From Middle English bak-, bac-, apheretic form of abak, aback ( “aback”, adv ). More at aback .



    1. Situated, located, or toward the rear; backward or in reverse; in return; again .
    2. ( UK ) False; pseudo- .

    Derived terms

    [+] English words prefixed with back-

Explanation of back by Wordnet Dictionary


    1. strengthen by providing with a back or backing

    2. establish as valid or genuine

    3. Can you back up your claims?
    4. shift to a counterclockwise direction

    5. the wind backed
    6. place a bet on

    7. Which horse are you backing?
    8. travel backward

    9. back into the driveway
      The car backed up and hit the tree
    10. cause to travel backward

    11. back the car into the parking spot
    12. support financial backing for

    13. back this enterprise
    14. be behind

    15. I backed Kennedy in 1960
    16. give support or one's approval to

    17. I can't back this plan
    18. be in back of

    19. My garage backs their yard
    1. in or to or toward a past time

    2. set the clocks back an hour
      never look back
      lovers of the past looking fondly backward
    3. at or to or toward the back or rear

    4. he moved back
      tripped when he stepped backward
    5. in repayment or retaliation

    6. we paid back everything we had borrowed
      he hit me and I hit him back
      I was kept in after school for talking back to the teacher
    7. in or to or toward a former location

    8. she went back to her parents' house
    9. in or to or toward an original condition

    10. he went back to sleep
    11. in reply

    12. he wrote back three days later
    1. located at or near the back of an animal

    2. back ( or hind ) legs
    3. related to or located at the back

    4. the back yard
      the back entrance
    5. of an earlier date

    6. back issues of the magazine
    1. the position of a player on a football team who is stationed behind the line of scrimmage

    2. a support that you can lean against while sitting

    3. the back of the dental chair was adjustable
    4. the part of a garment that covers the back of your body

    5. they pinned a `kick me' sign on his back
    6. the protective covering on the front, back, and spine of a book

    7. the side that goes last or is not normally seen

    8. he wrote the date on the back of the photograph
    9. the posterior part of a human ( or animal ) body from the neck to the end of the spine

    10. his back was nicely tanned
    11. the series of vertebrae forming the axis of the skeleton and protecting the spinal cord

    12. the fall broke his back
    13. the part of something that is furthest from the normal viewer

    14. he stood at the back of the stage
    15. a person who plays in the backfield

    Definition of back by GCIDE Dictionary


    1. Back n. [F. bac: cf. Arm. bag, bak a bark, D. bak tray, bowl.]
      1. A large shallow vat; a cistern, tub, or trough, used by brewers, distillers, dyers, picklers, gluemakers, and others, for mixing or cooling wort, holding water, hot glue, etc.

      Hop back, Jack back, the cistern which receives the infusion of malt and hops from the copper. -- Wash back, a vat in which distillers ferment the wort to form wash. -- Water back, a cistern to hold a supply of water; esp. a small cistern at the back of a stove, or a group of pipes set in the fire box of a stove or furnace, through which water circulates and is heated.

      2. A ferryboat. See Bac, 1.

    2. Back ( băk ), n. [AS. bæc, bac; akin to Icel., Sw., & LG. bak, Dan. bag; cf. OHG. bahho ham, Skr. bhaj to turn, OSlav. bēgŭ flight. Cf. Bacon.]
      1. In human beings, the hinder part of the body, extending from the neck to the end of the spine; in other animals, that part of the body which corresponds most nearly to such part of a human being; as, “the back of a horse, fish, or lobster”.

      2. An extended upper part, as of a mountain or ridge.

      [The mountains] their broad bare backs upheave

      Into the clouds. Milton.

      3. The outward or upper part of a thing, as opposed to the inner or lower part; as, “the back of the hand, the back of the foot, the back of a hand rail”.

      Methought Love pitying me, when he saw this,

      Gave me your hands, the backs and palms to kiss. Donne.

      4. The part opposed to the front; the hinder or rear part of a thing; as, “the back of a book; the back of an army; the back of a chimney”.

      5. The part opposite to, or most remote from, that which fronts the speaker or actor; or the part out of sight, or not generally seen; as, “the back of an island, of a hill, or of a village”.

      6. The part of a cutting tool on the opposite side from its edge; as, “the back of a knife, or of a saw”.

      7. A support or resource in reserve.

      This project

      Should have a back or second, that might hold,

      If this should blast in proof. Shak.

      8. ( Naut. ) The keel and keelson of a ship.

      9. ( Mining ) The upper part of a lode, or the roof of a horizontal underground passage.

      10. A garment for the back; hence, clothing. [Obs.]

      A bak to walken inne by daylight. Chaucer.

      Behind one's back, when one is absent; without one's knowledge; as, “to ridicule a person behind his back”. -- Full back, Half back, Quarter back ( Football ), players stationed behind those in the front line. -- To be on one's back or To lie on one's back, to be helpless. -- To put one's back up or to get one's back up, to assume an attitude of obstinate resistance ( from the action of a cat when attacked ). [Colloq.] -- To see the back of, to get rid of. -- To turn the back, to go away; to flee. -- To turn the back on one, to forsake or neglect him.

    3. Back, a.
      1. Being at the back or in the rear; distant; remote; as, “the back door; back settlements”.

      2. Being in arrear; overdue; as, “back rent”.

      3. Moving or operating backward; as, “back action”.

      Back blocks, Australian pastoral country which is remote from the seacoast or from a river. [Webster 1913 Suppl.] -- Back charges, charges brought forward after an account has been made up. -- Back filling ( Arch. ), the mass of materials used in filling up the space between two walls, or between the inner and outer faces of a wall, or upon the haunches of an arch or vault. -- Back pressure. ( Steam Engine ) See under Pressure. -- Back rest, a guide attached to the slide rest of a lathe, and placed in contact with the work, to steady it in turning. -- Back slang, a kind of slang in which every word is written or pronounced backwards; as, nam for man. -- Back stairs, stairs in the back part of a house; private stairs. Also used adjectively. See Back stairs, Backstairs, and Backstair, in the Vocabulary. -- Back step ( Mil. ), the retrograde movement of a man or body of men, without changing front. -- Back stream, a current running against the main current of a stream; an eddy. -- To take the back
      track, to retrace one's steps; to retreat. [Colloq.]

    4. Back ( băk ), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Backed ( băkt ); p. pr. & vb. n. Backing.]

      1. To get upon the back of; to mount.

      I will back him [a horse] straight. Shak.

      2. To place or seat upon the back. [R.]

      Great Jupiter, upon his eagle backed,

      Appeared to me. Shak.

      3. To drive or force backward; to cause to retreat or recede; as, “to back oxen”.

      4. To make a back for; to furnish with a back; as, “to back books”.

      5. To adjoin behind; to be at the back of.

      A garden . . . with a vineyard backed. Shak.

      The chalk cliffs which back the beach. Huxley.

      6. To write upon the back of; as, “to back a letter”; to indorse; as, “to back a note or legal document”.

      7. To support; to maintain; to second or strengthen by aid or influence; as, “to back a friend”. “The Parliament would be backed by the people.” Macaulay.

      Have still found it necessary to back and fortify their laws with rewards and punishments. South.

      The mate backed the captain manfully. Blackw. Mag.

      8. To bet on the success of; -- as, to back a race horse.

      To back an anchor ( Naut. ), to lay down a small anchor ahead of a large one, the cable of the small one being fastened to the crown of the large one. -- To back the field, in horse racing, to bet against a particular horse or horses, that some one of all the other horses, collectively designated “the field”, will win. -- To back the oars, to row backward with the oars. -- To back a rope, to put on a preventer. -- To back the sails, to arrange them so as to cause the ship to move astern. -- To back up, to support; to sustain; as, “to back up one's friends”. -- To back a warrant ( Law ), is for a justice of the peace, in the county where the warrant is to be executed, to sign or indorse a warrant, issued in another county, to apprehend an offender. -- To back water ( Naut. ), to reverse the action of the oars, paddles, or propeller, so as to force the boat or ship backward.

    5. Back, v. i.
      1. To move or go backward; as, “the horse refuses to back”.

      2. ( Naut. ) To change from one quarter to another by a course opposite to that of the sun; -- used of the wind.

      3. ( Sporting ) To stand still behind another dog which has pointed; -- said of a dog. [Eng.]

      To back and fill, to manage the sails of a ship so that the wind strikes them alternately in front and behind, in order to keep the ship in the middle of a river or channel while the current or tide carries the vessel against the wind. Hence: ( Fig. ) To take opposite positions alternately; to assert and deny. [Colloq.] -- To back out, To back down, to retreat or withdraw from a promise, engagement, or contest; to recede. [Colloq.]

      Cleon at first . . . was willing to go; but, finding that he [Nicias] was in earnest, he tried to back out. Jowett ( Thucyd. )

    6. Back, adv. [Shortened from aback.]
      1. In, to, or toward, the rear; as, “to stand back; to step back”.

      2. To the place from which one came; to the place or person from which something is taken or derived; as, “to go back for something left behind; to go back to one's native place; to put a book back after reading it”.

      3. To a former state, condition, or station; as, “to go back to private life; to go back to barbarism”.

      4. ( Of time ) In times past; ago. “Sixty or seventy years back.” Gladstone.

      5. Away from contact; by reverse movement.

      The angel of the Lord . . . came, and rolled back the stone from the door. Matt. xxviii. 2.

      6. In concealment or reserve; in one's own possession; as, “to keep back the truth; to keep back part of the money due to another”.

      7. In a state of restraint or hindrance.

      The Lord hath kept thee back from honor. Numb. xxiv. 11.

      8. In return, repayment, or requital.

      What have I to give you back? Shak.

      9. In withdrawal from a statement, promise, or undertaking; as, “he took back the offensive words”.

      10. In arrear; as, “to be back in one's rent”. [Colloq.]

      Back and forth, backwards and forwards; to and fro. -- To go back on, to turn back from; to abandon; to betray; as, “to go back on a friend; to go back on one's professions”. [Colloq.]