Meaning of BACK in English

I. ˈbak noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English bak, back, from Old English bæc; akin to Old High German bah back, Old Norse bak, Old High German bahho side of bacon



(1) : the rear part of the human body extending from the neck to the end of the spine, especially the portion from shoulder to waist

turned his back to the fire

trudging down the road with a load on his back

(2) : the whole body considered as the wearer of clothing

food for his belly and a fine blue uniform for his back

(3) : capacity especially for labor, effort, or endurance

imposing crushing burdens on the backs of the working class

know where you desire to go in life and put your back into getting there — Architect & Building News

b. : the corresponding part of the body of vertebrates other than man : dorsum

ride on a horse's back

a bird with reddish coloring on back and wings

an odd marking along the back of a snake

c. : the backbone or the muscles and ligaments of this part of the body

break your back

strain her back

d. : a surface analogous to this portion of a vertebrate

riding the backs of waves

e. : the portion of a tanned leather hide resulting from cutting longitudinally down the backbone of the hide and trimming off the head and belly

f. : backbone 3

g. in leapfrog : the position of the player who is to be jumped over

make a back

also : the player who is jumped over



(1) : the side or surface of something that is opposite to the side that is regarded as its front or face

the back of the head

or that is opposite to the more important, functional, or useful side

scribbling his verses on the backs of old letters

the dingy back of the hotel contrasting with its brilliant facade

(2) : the side that is opposite to the side approached or seen

the back of the mountain

the back of the door

(3) : the side or part of any object or space that is most remote from the observer or from its front or forward part

the chorus was massed at the back of the stage

moved to the back of the room

a journey into the thinly settled back of the province


(1) : the upper, outer, or convex side or part of something as opposed to the inner, lower, or concave side or part

rest a hand on the back of a handrail

the back of an arch

back of a hoop

(2) : the upper surface of a beam

(3) : the side of a piece of printer's type opposite the belly — see type illustration

(4) : the roof, arch, or top surface of mine workings

(5) : the mass of ore existing above a mine working — sometimes used in plural

(6) : a plane of cleavage in a coal seam

c. : the side or edge of something opposite to a side or edge designed for grasping, cutting, or striking

the back of a knife

the back of a saw

the back of an ax

d. : the portion of a chair that supports the back of a sitter

e. : backing


(1) : the last few pages of a book

(2) : the inside margin of a printed page

g. : the reverse of a currency note

h. : backyard

leave a bicycle in the back

i. : the main or longest leaf of a leaf spring

j. : the upper part or convex portion of a saw tooth

3. of a bird dog : the action of backing

4. : the part of the upper surface of the tongue behind the front and lying opposite the soft palate when the tongue is at rest


a. : a primarily defensive player (as in soccer or polo) with a position nearest his own goal — compare forward

b. : a rugby player who is not a forward ; especially : fullback

c. : a primarily offensive player in football whose position is behind that of his linemen

starred as a triple-threat back

— see fullback , halfback , quarterback

- at one's back

- behind one's back

- in back of

- the back of beyond

- the back of one's hand

- the back of one's mind

- with one's back to the wall

II. adverb

Etymology: Middle English bak, from bak, n.


a. : to or toward the rear : to or toward a place away from any place regarded as the front, center, or forward position

move back from the front lines

move back in a bus

ask the crowd to move back from the scene of an accident

b. : at the rear or a position behind : at a place considered away from the front, center, or forward position

a chapter beginning several pages back

left his friends two miles back

c. : in or into the past

to look back on his youth

an event back in the last century

: ago

several years back

met him in the street two days back

d. : at an angle off the vertical

banks slant evenly back from the highway

especially : in a reclining position

lying back in the boat — Frank Gallagher

lie back on a couch


(1) : in a condition of check or restraint

would have leaped if his friends had not held him back

poverty may hold a talented man back

hold back a laugh

(2) : in a delayed or retarded condition : in a condition less advanced or advantageous than before — often used with set

landslides set the construction job back many days

unfortunate speculations set the firm back

f. : in one's keeping or possession — usually used of something that should be given up, yielded, or declared freely

hold back part of the money

keep back the truth

g. : in arrears

he was back in payment of rent

h. : backstage 1


a. : to, toward, or in a place from which a person or thing came or was taken

go back for something left behind

go back home

put a book back

b. : to or toward a former condition : to or toward a former or original state (as of activity, consciousness, or productivity)

go back to private life

go back to barbarism

needed two transfusions to bring him back — Bill Alcine

good farming practices were needed to bring the fields back


(1) : in repayment or return (as of a loan or favor)

gave back the borrowed money

(2) : in retaliation

hit him right back

(3) : in reply usually in the manner of a retort

repressed a strong impulse to talk back

or a retraction

refused to take back his charges

or a withdrawal

drew back from his earlier promise

3. : over

read your shorthand notes back

III. adjective

Etymology: Middle English bak, from bak, n.


a. : being at the back or in the rear

the back door

the back porch

a back alley

b. : distant from a center of population or habitation or off the main routes of travel

back settlements

the near woodlands and back pastures afford good hunting — American Guide Series: Tennessee

a back river port

back roads and picturesque lanes

c. comparative sometimes backer : articulated at or toward the back of the oral passage

the vowels ü and ä and g in go are back sounds


a. : overdue : in arrears

pay back rent due for several months

b. : due for services performed prior to the latest pay period

a retroactive increase results in back wages for workers


a. : moving or operating backward

back action with oars that drives a boat sternward

b. : moved or moving in a return direction

pick up back cargo

back freight

a back current

c. : constituting the second 9 holes of an 18-hole golf course

play the back nine in record time

4. of a publication : not current

a back number of a magazine

a back issue

IV. verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: back (I)

transitive verb


a. : to support or help by physical, moral, or financial assistance : uphold : strengthen or encourage by aid or influence — often used with up

back a candidate for office

back up his son

specifically : to move into a position behind (a teammate) in order to assist in a play (as in stopping an offensive play in football or by retrieving a missed ball in baseball or cricket)

b. : to increase the persuasive or logical force of : substantiate — often used with up

back up an argument with forceful illustrations

c. : to bet on the success of

back a racehorse

d. : countersign , endorse

the warrant … had to be backed or countersigned by a magistrate of the county to which the offender had fled — Edward Jenks & D.J.L.Davies

back a check

also : to assume financial responsibility for : provide financial security for

back an enterprise

back a currency

e. : to supply the first stage of exhaustion in a pumping operation in connection with (another pump)

a mechanical rotary pump backing an oil diffusion pump

2. : to get upon the back of : mount

back a horse

especially : to break (a horse) to the saddle


a. : to drive, force, or cause to move back, retreat, recede, or go in reverse — often used with up

back a car into a garage

back a car up

back a propeller at full speed

b. : to articulate (a sound) with the tongue further back


a. : to make or form a back for : furnish with a back : put a back to — often used with up, sometimes with off

a row of hills backs the town

back a skirt with stiff material

back up a bookcase with cardboard

back off a wall with bricks

b. : to be at the back of — often used with up

a barn backing the house

a row of garages back the building up


(1) : to print the second sides of (a sheet with one printed side) : perfect , reiterate ; especially : to so print in close register — often used with up

(2) : to fill (an electrotype shell) with molten metal to form a printing plate — often used with up

(3) : to reinforce (a stereotype matrix) to enable to withstand molten-metal pressure in molding

d. : to widen the backbone of (an unbound book) by spreading the backs of the sections gradually from the center of the back thereby forming longitudinal ridges at each side in order to strengthen (the book) and facilitate attachment of the cover

e. : to provide (a film or plate) with a photographic backing

5. dialect : to write an address on (an envelope)

6. of a bird dog : to assume pointing stance behind (another dog that has pointed a covey of birds)

7. : to fasten a weight (as a second anchor) to the rear of (an anchor) to increase holding power

8. : to brace (a sail) so that the wind presses upon the forward side thus checking headway or driving the bow over onto a new course

intransitive verb

1. : to move backward

back up three paces

backed off in preparation for his leap

backed away from the door

2. of a bird dog : to stop and point behind another pointing dog

3. of the wind : to shift in a counterclockwise direction — opposed to veer

4. : to have the back in the direction of and often close to something — used with on, onto, or against

seaside resorts … seem to back onto the sea, instead of facing it — Stephen Potter

house backs onto a wall

Synonyms: see recede

- back and fill

V. noun

( -s )

Etymology: Dutch bak, from Middle Dutch bac, from Old French, from (assumed) Vulgar Latin bacca water vessel — more at basin

: a large shallow vat : a cistern, tub, or trough used (as by brewers, dyers, or gluemakers) especially for mixing or cooling wort or holding water or hot glue

VI. abbreviation


VII. transitive verb

: to provide a musical accompaniment for — often used with up

a song is categorized as “country” if it is backed up with a steel guitar — Robert Windeler

- back into

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.