back

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See also: bäck

English[edit]

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Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

Middle English bak, from Old English bæc, from Proto-Germanic *baką (compare Old Saxon bak (Middle Low German bak (back)), West Frisian bekling 'chair back', Old High German bah, Swedish bak), possibly from Proto-Indo-European *bʰogo 'bending'. The adverb represents an aphetic form of aback.

Adjective[edit]

back (comparative more back, superlative most back)

  1. (not comparable) Near the rear.
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 19, The Mirror and the Lamp:
      Nothing was too small to receive attention, if a supervising eye could suggest improvements likely to conduce to the common welfare. Mr. Gordon Burnage, for instance, personally visited dust-bins and back premises, accompanied by a sort of village bailiff, going his round like a commanding officer doing billets.
    Go in the back door of the house.
  2. (not comparable) Not current.
    I’d like to find a back issue of that magazine.
  3. (not comparable) Far from the main area.
    They took a back road.
  4. In arrear; overdue.
    back rent
  5. Moving or operating backward.
    back action
  6. (comparable, phonetics) Produced in the back of the mouth.
    "U" in "rude" is a back vowel.
Synonyms[edit]
Antonyms[edit]
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.

Adverb[edit]

back (comparative further back, superlative furthest back)

  1. (not comparable) To or in a previous condition or place.
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 2, The Celebrity:
      We drove back to the office with some concern on my part at the prospect of so large a case. Sunning himself on the board steps, I saw for the first time Mr. Farquhar Fenelon Cooke. He was dressed out in broad gaiters and bright tweeds, like an English tourist, and his face might have belonged to Dagon, idol of the Philistines.
    • 2013 June 8, “The new masters and commanders”, The Economist, volume 407, number 8839, page 52: 
      From the ground, Colombo’s port does not look like much. Those entering it are greeted by wire fences, walls dating back to colonial times and security posts. For mariners leaving the port after lonely nights on the high seas, the delights of the B52 Night Club and Stallion Pub lie a stumble away.
    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.
    • 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 1, Mr. Pratt's Patients:
      Pretty soon I struck into a sort of path […]. It twisted and turned, [] and opened out into a big clear space like a lawn. And, back of the lawn, was a big, old-fashioned house, with piazzas stretching in front of it, and all blazing with lights. 'Twas the house I'd seen the roof of from the beach.
    Sit all the way back in your chair.
    Step back from the curb.
  3. In a manner that impedes.
    Fear held him back.
  4. In a reciprocal manner.
    If you hurt me, I'll hurt you back.
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.

Noun[edit]

A man's back

back (plural backs)

  1. The rear of the 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?
    • 1879, Richard Jefferies, chapter 1, The Amateur Poacher:
      As one sat on the sward behind the elm, with the back turned on the rick and nothing in front but the tall elms and the oaks in the other hedge, it was quite easy to fancy it the verge of the prairie with the backwoods close by.
    1. The spine and associated tissues.
      I hurt my back lifting those crates.
    2. (slang, uncountable) Large and attractive buttocks.
    3. (figuratively) The part of a piece of clothing which covers the back.
      I still need to finish the back of your dress.
    4. The backrest, the part of a piece of furniture which receives the human back.
      Can you fix the back of this chair?
    5. (obsolete) That part of the body that bears clothing.
  2. That which is farthest away from the front.
    He sat in the back of the room.
    1. The side of any object which is opposite the front or useful side.
      Turn the book over and look at the back.
      1. The edge of a book which is bound.
        The titles are printed on the backs of the books.
      2. (printing) The inside margin of a page.
      3. The side of a blade opposite the side used for cutting.
        Tap it with the back of your knife.
    2. The reverse side; the side that is not normally seen.
      I hung the clothes on the back of the door.
    3. Area behind, such as the backyard of a house.
      We'll meet out in the back of the library.
    4. The part of something that goes last.
      The car was near the back of the train.
    5. (sports) In some team sports, a position behind most players on the team.
      The backs were lined up in an I formation.
      • 2010 December 28, Kevin Darlin, “West Brom 1-3 Blackburn”, BBC:
        [] Rovers were also aided by some poor defending from West Brom, whose lapses at the back undid their excellent work on the ball and condemned Roberto di Matteo's Baggies side to a third straight defeat.
  3. (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.
  4. A support or resource in reserve.
    • William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
      This project / Should have a back or second, that might hold, / If this should blast in proof.
  5. (nautical) The keel and keelson of a ship.
    The ship's back broke in the pounding surf.
  6. (mining) The roof of a horizontal underground passage.
    • 1911, Robert Bruce Brinsmade, Mining Without Timber, page 161:
      The stope is kept full of broken ore, sufficient only being drawn to leave a working space between the floor of broken ore and the back of the stope.
  7. (slang, uncountable) Effort, usually physical.
    Put some back into it!
  8. 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?
  9. Among leather dealers, one of the thickest and stoutest tanned hides.
    • 1848, Maine. Supreme Judicial Court, Maine Reports (volume 6, page 397)
      [] as delivered by a tanner the average weight of a back and two strips would be about 42 pounds []
Synonyms[edit]
Antonyms[edit]
  • (side opposite the front or useful side): front
  • (that which is farthest away from the front): front
Coordinate terms[edit]
  • (non-alcoholic drink): chaser
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.

Verb[edit]

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

  1. (intransitive) To go in the reverse direction.
    the train backed into the station;  the horse refuses to back
    • 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 1, Mr. Pratt's Patients:
      Thinks I to myself, “Sol, you're run off your course again. This is a rich man's summer ‘cottage’ [].” So I started to back away again into the bushes. But I hadn't backed more'n a couple of yards when I see something so amazing that I couldn't help scooching down behind the bayberries and looking at it.
  2. (transitive) To support.
    I back you all the way;  which horse are you backing in this race?
    • 2012 June 9, Owen Phillips, “Euro 2012: Netherlands 0-1 Denmark”, BBC Sport:
      And Netherlands, backed by a typically noisy and colourful travelling support, started the second period in blistering fashion and could have had four goals within 10 minutes
  3. (nautical, of the wind) To change direction contrary to the normal pattern; that is, to shift anticlockwise in the northern hemisphere, or clockwise in the southern hemisphere.
  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.
  6. (UK, of a hunting dog) To stand still behind another dog which has pointed.
  7. (transitive) To push or force backwards.
    to back oxen
    The mugger backed her into a corner and demanded her wallet.
  8. (transitive, obsolete) To get upon the back of; to mount.
  9. (transitive, obsolete) To place or seat upon the back.
  10. To make a back for; to furnish with a back.
    to back books
  11. To adjoin behind; to be at the back of.
    • William Shakespeare (c.1564–1616)
      a garden [] with a vineyard backed
    • Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-1895)
      the chalk cliffs which back the beach
    • 1908, W. B. M. Ferguson, Zollenstein, ch.4:
      So this was my future home, I thought! [] Backed by towering hills, the but faintly discernible purple line of the French boundary off to the southwest, a sky of palest Gobelin flecked with fat, fleecy little clouds, it in truth looked a dear little city; the city of one's dreams.
  12. To write upon the back of, possibly as an endorsement.
    to back a letter;  to back a note or legal document
  13. (law, of a justice of the peace) To sign or endorse (a warrant, issued in another county, to apprehend an offender).
  14. To row backward with (oars).
    to back the oars
Antonyms[edit]
  • (nautical: of the wind): veer
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.

Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

French bac.

Noun[edit]

back (plural backs)

  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.
  2. A ferryboat.

Statistics[edit]


German[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Verb[edit]

back

  1. Imperative singular of backen.
  2. (colloquial)First-person singular present of backen.

Swedish[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

back c

  1. crate; storage of bottles
  2. back; position behind most players on the team
  3. reverse; car gear

Declension[edit]