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back Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. noun the posterior part of a human (or animal) body from the neck to the end of the spine
    • his back was nicely tanned
  2. noun the side that goes last or is not normally seen
    • he wrote the date on the back of the photograph
  3. noun the part of something that is furthest from the normal viewer
    • he stood at the back of the stage
    • it was hidden in the rear of the store
  4. noun (football) a person who plays in the backfield
  5. noun the series of vertebrae forming the axis of the skeleton and protecting the spinal cord
    rachis; spinal column; spine; vertebral column; backbone.
    • the fall broke his back
  6. noun the protective covering on the front, back, and spine of a book
    cover; binding; book binding.
    • the book had a leather binding
  7. noun the part of a garment that covers the back of your body
    • they pinned a `kick me' sign on his back
  8. noun a support that you can lean against while sitting
    • the back of the dental chair was adjustable
  9. noun (American football) the position of a player on a football team who is stationed behind the line of scrimmage
  10. verb be behind; approve of
    indorse; plunk for; support; plump for; endorse.
    • He plumped for the Labor Party
    • I backed Kennedy in 1960
  11. verb travel backward
    • back into the driveway
    • The car backed up and hit the tree
  12. verb give support or one's approval to
    second; indorse; endorse.
    • I'll second that motion
    • I can't back this plan
    • endorse a new project
  13. verb cause to travel backward
    • back the car into the parking spot
  14. verb support financial backing for
    • back this enterprise
  15. verb be in back of
    • My garage backs their yard
  16. verb place a bet on
    stake; bet on; gage; game; punt.
    • Which horse are you backing?
    • I'm betting on the new horse
  17. verb shift to a counterclockwise direction
    • the wind backed
  18. verb establish as valid or genuine
    back up.
    • Can you back up your claims?
  19. verb strengthen by providing with a back or backing
  20. adjective related to or located at the back
    • the back yard
    • the back entrance
  21. adjective satellite located at or near the back of an animal
    hinder; hind.
    • back (or hind) legs
    • the hinder part of a carcass
  22. adjective satellite of an earlier date
    • back issues of the magazine
  23. adverb in or to or toward a former location
    • she went back to her parents' house
  24. adverb at or to or toward the back or rear
    rearward; rearwards; backward; backwards.
    • he moved back
    • tripped when he stepped backward
    • she looked rearward out the window of the car
  25. adverb in or to or toward an original condition
    • he went back to sleep
  26. adverb in or to or toward a past time
    • set the clocks back an hour
    • never look back
    • lovers of the past looking fondly backward
  27. adverb in reply
    • he wrote back three days later
  28. adverb in repayment or retaliation
    • 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

Back noun
F. bac: cf. Arm. 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.
  2. A ferryboat. See Bac, 1
Back noun
As bæc, bac; akin to Icel., Sw., & LG. bak, Dan. bag; cf. OHG. bahho ham, Skr. bhaj to turn, OSlav. bg 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.
    A bak to walken inne by daylight. Chaucer.
Back adjective
  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 intransitive verb
imperfect & past participle Backed ; present participle & verbal noun 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. "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.
Back intransitive verb
  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 poined; -- said of a dog. Eng.
    Cleon at first . . . was willing to go; but, finding that he [Nicias] was in earnest, he tried to back out. Jowett (Thucyd. )
Back adverb
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. xxvii. 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 back0 the offensive words.
  10. In arrear; as, to be back in one's rent. Colloq.

Webster 1913

"Rowling never met an adverb she didn't like."

-Stephen King on J.K Rowling's excessive use of adverbs.

Fear not the Adverb Hell!

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