• Moving or operating backward.

    "back action"

  • (not comparable) Near the rear.

    "Go in the back door of the house."

  • In arrear; overdue.

    "back rent"

  • (not comparable) Far from the main area.

    "They took a back road."

  • (comparable, phonetics) Produced in the back of the mouth.

    ""U" in "rude" is a back vowel."

  • (not comparable) Not current.

    "Iā€™d like to find a back issue of that magazine."


  • Away from the front or from an edge.

    "Sit all the way back in your chair."

  • In a reciprocal manner.

    "If you hurt me, I'll hurt you back."

  • (not comparable) To or in a previous condition or place.

    "He gave back the money."

  • In a manner that impedes.

    "Fear held him back."

  • Away from the front or from an edge.

    "Step back from the curb."


  • (printing) The inside margin of a page.
  • Area behind, such as the backyard of a house.

    "We'll meet out in the back of the library."

  • (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."

  • (mining) The roof of a horizontal underground passage.
  • (slang, uncountable) Large and attractive buttocks.
  • 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.
  • Among leather dealers, one of the thickest and stoutest tanned hides.
  • (obsolete) That part of the body that bears clothing.
  • The edge of a book which is bound.

    "The titles are printed on the backs of the books."

  • The reverse side; the side that is not normally seen.

    "I hung the clothes on the back of the door."

  • (sports) In some team sports, a position behind most players on the team.

    "The backs were lined up in an I formation."

  • (nautical) The keel and keelson of a ship.

    "The ship's back broke in the pounding surf."

  • The spine and associated tissues.

    "I hurt my back lifting those crates."

  • 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?"

  • The backrest, the part of a piece of furniture which receives the human back.

    "Can you fix the back of this chair?"

  • The side of any object which is opposite the front or useful side.

    "Turn the book over and look at the back."

  • The side of a blade opposite the side used for cutting.

    "Tap it with the back of your knife."

  • The part of something that goes last.

    "The car was near the back of the train."

  • A support or resource in reserve.
  • 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?"

  • (slang, uncountable) Effort, usually physical.

    "Put some back into it!"

  • (figuratively) The part of a piece of clothing which covers the back.

    "I still need to finish the back of your dress."

  • A ferryboat.
  • That which is farthest away from the front.

    "He sat in the back of the room."


  • (nautical, of a square sail) To brace the yards so that the wind presses on the front of the sail, to slow the ship.
  • (transitive) To push or force backwards.

    "to back oxen"

  • (transitive, obsolete) To place or seat upon the back.
  • To write upon the back of, possibly as an endorsement.

    "to back a letter;ā€ƒ to back a note or legal document"

  • (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.
  • (Britain, of a hunting dog) To stand still behind another dog which has pointed.
  • (transitive, obsolete) To get upon the back of; to mount.
  • To adjoin behind; to be at the back of.
  • To row backward with (oars).

    "to back the oars"

  • (transitive) To support.

    "I back you all the way;ā€ƒ which horse are you backing in this race?"

  • (nautical, of an anchor) To lay out a second, smaller anchor to provide additional holding power.
  • (transitive) To push or force backwards.

    "The mugger backed her into a corner and demanded her wallet."

  • To make a back for; to furnish with a back.

    "to back books"

  • (law, of a justice of the peace) To sign or endorse (a warrant, issued in another county, to apprehend an offender).
  • (intransitive) To go in the reverse direction.

    "the train backed into the station;ā€ƒ the horse refuses to back"

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