back out

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

  1. (transitive) To reverse (a vehicle) from a confined space.
    He backed out of the garage.
  2. (intransitive) To withdraw from something one has agreed to do.
    She backed out of organizing the fund-raising.
    • 1920, Herman Cyril McNeile, chapter 1, in Bulldog Drummond:
      The girl threw back her head and laughed merrily. "You poor young man," she cried; "put that way it does sound alarming." Then she grew serious again. "There's plenty of time for you to back out now if you like. Just call the waiter, and ask for my bill. We'll say good-bye, and the incident will finish."
  3. (transitive) To dare (someone) to not withdraw from a challenge.
    • 1921, Nephi Anderson, chapter 1, in Dorian:
      "I can back you out."
      "How? Doin' what?" they asked.
      "Crossing the canal on the pole."
      "Shucks, you can't back me out," declared one of the boys, at which he darted across the swaying pole, and with a jump, landed safely across. Another boy went at it gingerly, and with the antics of a tight-rope walker, he managed to get to the other side. []
      "All right, Carlia," shouted the boys on the other bank. []
      Carlia placed her foot on the pole as if testing it. The other girls protested. She would fall in and drown.
      "You dared us; now who's the coward," cried the boys.
  4. (gambling) To bet on someone losing.
    • 1921, Henry Luttrell, Crockford's : Or Life in the West Sketch No. III
      Whatever you throw is your chance. I called five for the main, which is the out chance, and threw seven to it, which is the in chance. If I throw five first, I lose, and if seven I win. You can back me in by betting the odds, or you can back me out, by taking the odds, the bank answers either way.
  5. (computing, transitive) To undo (a change).
    I had to back out the changes made to the computer when it became apparent that they had stopped it working properly.
  6. (computing, intransitive) To exit a mode or function.
    I chose that menu option by accident, so I pressed Escape to back out.
  7. (MLE, transitive) To draw from behind the back [+accusative = a knife etc.] (as also bare back).
    • 2018 September 13, YB (9th Street) (lyrics and music), “Don’t Make Sense”‎[1], 2:06–2:11:
      Anything 4 get bun, back it out see the paigons run
      Can't believe that my door got spun, I just got nicked for a loaded gun


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