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back

synonyms, antonyms, definitions, examples & translations of back in English

English Online Dictionary. What means back‎? What does back mean?

English

Pronunciation

  • (Received Pronunciation, General American) IPA(key): /bæk/, [bæk], [bak], [-k̚], [-ˀk]
  • (Scouse) IPA(key): [bax]
  • Rhymes: -æk
  • Hyphenation: back

Etymology 1

From Middle English bak, from Old English bæc, from Proto-Germanic *baką, possibly from Proto-Indo-European *bʰogo (literally bending). The adverb represents an aphetic form of aback. Compare Middle Low German bak (back), from Old Saxon bak, and West Frisian bekling (chair back), Old High German bah, Swedish and Norwegian bak. Cognate with German Bache (sow [adult female hog]).

Adjective

back (comparative more back, superlative most back)

  1. (not comparable) Near the rear.
  2. (not comparable) Not current.
  3. (not comparable) Far from the main area.
  4. (not comparable) In arrear; overdue.
    They still owe three months' back rent.
  5. (not comparable) Moving or operating backward.
    back action
  6. (comparable, phonetics) Pronounced with the highest part of the body of the tongue toward the back of the mouth, near the soft palate (most often describing a vowel).
Synonyms
  • (near the rear): rear
  • (not current): former, previous
  • (far from the main area): remote
Antonyms
  • (near the rear, phonetics): front
  • (not current): current
  • (far from the main area): main
Translations
See also
  • back vowel

Adverb

back (comparative further back, superlative furthest back)

  1. (not comparable) To or in a previous condition or place.
  2. Away from the front or from an edge.
  3. In a manner that impedes.
  4. (not comparable) In a reciprocal manner; in return.
  5. Earlier, ago.
Translations

Noun

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.
    1. The spine and associated tissues.
    2. (slang, uncountable) Large and attractive buttocks.
    3. (figuratively) The part of a piece of clothing which covers the back.
    4. The backrest, the part of a piece of furniture which receives the human back.
    5. (obsolete) That part of the body that bears clothing. (Now used only in the phrase clothes on one's back.)
  2. That which is farthest away from the front.
    1. The side of any object which is opposite the front or useful side.
      1. The edge of a book which is bound.
      2. (printing) The inside margin of a page.
      3. The side of a blade opposite the side used for cutting.
    2. The reverse side; the side that is not normally seen.
    3. Area behind, such as the backyard of a house.
    4. The part of something that goes last.
    5. (sports) In some team sports, a position behind most players on the team.
  3. (figuratively) Upper part of a natural object which is considered to resemble an animal's back.
  4. A support or resource in reserve.
    • (Can we date this quote?) William Shakespeare
      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.
  6. (mining) The roof of a horizontal underground passage.
  7. (slang, uncountable) Effort, usually physical.
  8. A non-alcoholic drink (often water or a soft drink), to go with hard liquor or a cocktail.
  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
  • (side opposite the visible side): reverse
  • (rear of the body): dorsum
Hyponyms
  • (lower rear of the body): See Thesaurus:buttocks
Antonyms
  • (side opposite the front or useful side): front
  • (that which is farthest away from the front): front
Coordinate terms
  • (non-alcoholic drink): chaser
Derived terms

(Please see the combined section below)

Related terms
  • abackward
  • ass backward
  • have someone's back
Translations

Verb

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

  1. (intransitive) To go in the reverse direction.
  2. (transitive) To support.
  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. (Britain, of a hunting dog) To stand still behind another dog which has pointed.
  7. (transitive) To push or force backwards.
    to back oxen
  8. (transitive, obsolete) To get upon the back of; to mount.
    • (Can we date this quote?) William Shakespeare
      I will back him [a horse] straight.
  9. (transitive, obsolete) To place or seat upon the back.
    • (Can we date this quote?) William Shakespeare
      Great Jupiter, upon his eagle backed, / Appeared to me.
  10. To make a back for; to furnish with a back.
    to back books
  11. To adjoin behind; to be at the back of.
    • (Can we date this quote?) William Shakespeare
      a garden [] with a vineyard backed
    • (Can we date this quote?) Thomas Henry Huxley
      the chalk cliffs which back the beach
    • 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
  • (nautical: of the wind): veer
Translations

Derived terms

Etymology 2

Borrowed from French bac.

Noun

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.
Translations

Czech

Alternative forms

  • bek

Etymology

Borrowed from English back.

Pronunciation

  • IPA(key): /ˈbɛk/
  • Rhymes: -ɛk
  • Homophone: beg

Noun

back m anim

  1. (sports, obsolete) back

Declension

Synonyms

  • obránce
  • zadák

Antonyms

  • útočník
  • forward

Noun

back m inan

  1. (sports, rare) defense

Declension

Synonyms

  • obrana

Antonyms

  • útok

Further reading

  • back in Příruční slovník jazyka českého, 1935–1957
  • back in Slovník spisovného jazyka českého, 1960–1971, 1989

French

Etymology

From English back

Pronunciation

Adverb

back

  1. (Louisiana, Cajun French, Acadian) back
    Dis trois je vous salue Marie, et je veux point te voir icitte back à voler du plywood. — “Say three hail Maries, and I don't want to see you back here stealing plywood.”

German

Pronunciation

  • IPA(key): /bak/
  • Rhymes: -ak

Verb

back

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

Middle English

Noun

back

  1. Alternative form of bak (back)

Swedish

Pronunciation

Noun

back c

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

Declension

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This article based on an article on Wiktionary. The list of authors can be seen in the page history there. The original work has been modified. This article is distributed under the terms of this license.