aback

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search

English[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

Compare West Frisian tebek (aback, adv, literally to/at back), Swedish tillbaka (idem.).

Adverb[edit]

aback (not comparable)

  1. (archaic) Towards the back or rear; backwards. [First attested prior to 1150.][1]
  2. (archaic) In the rear; a distance behind. [First attested prior to 1150.][1]
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Knolles to this entry?)
  3. By surprise; startled; dumbfounded.
  4. (nautical) Backward against the mast; said of the sails when pressed by the wind from the "wrong" (forward) side, or of a ship when its sails are set that way. [First attested in the late 17th century.][1]
    By setting the foresail aback and the headsail in the middle one can bring a fore-and-aft rigged sailing boat practically to a halt even in heavy wind.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Totten to this entry?)
Usage notes[edit]
  • (by surprise): Preceded by a form of the word take.
Translations[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

See also[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From abacus.

Noun[edit]

aback (plural abacks)

  1. (obsolete) An abacus.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Ben Jonson to this entry?)
Translations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Lesley Brown (editor), The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, 5th edition (Oxford University Press, 2003 [1933], ISBN 978-0-19-860575-7), page 2