from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The posterior portion of the trunk of the human body between the neck and the pelvis; the dorsum.
  • n. The analogous dorsal region in other animals.
  • n. The backbone or spine.
  • n. The part or area farthest from the front.
  • n. The part opposite to or behind that adapted for view or use: the back of the hand; wrote on the back of the photograph.
  • n. The reverse side, as of a coin.
  • n. A part that supports or strengthens from the rear: the back of a couch.
  • n. The part of a book where the pages are stitched or glued together into the binding.
  • n. The binding itself.
  • n. Sports A player who takes a position behind the front line of other players in certain games, such as football and soccer.
  • n. Sports This playing position.
  • transitive v. To cause to move backward or in a reverse direction: Back the car up and then make the turn.
  • transitive v. To furnish or strengthen with a back or backing.
  • transitive v. To provide with financial or moral support; support or endorse: Unions backed the pro-labor candidate. See Synonyms at support.
  • transitive v. To provide with musical accompaniment. Often used with up.
  • transitive v. To bet or wager on.
  • transitive v. To adduce evidence in support of; substantiate: backed the argument with facts.
  • transitive v. To form the back or background of: Snowcapped mountains back the village.
  • intransitive v. To move backward: backed out of the garage.
  • intransitive v. To shift to a counterclockwise direction. Used of the wind.
  • adj. Located or placed in the rear: Deliveries should be made at the back entrance.
  • adj. Distant from a center of activity; remote.
  • adj. Of a past date; not current: a back issue of a periodical.
  • adj. Being owed or due from an earlier time; in arrears: back pay.
  • adj. Being in a backward direction.
  • adj. Linguistics Pronounced with the back of the tongue, as oo in cool. Used of vowels.
  • adv. At, to, or toward the rear or back; backward.
  • adv. In, to, or toward a former location: went back for the class reunion.
  • adv. In, to, or toward a former condition.
  • adv. In, to, or toward a past time.
  • adv. In reserve or concealment.
  • adv. In check or under restraint: Barriers held the crowd back.
  • adv. In reply or return.
  • back away To withdraw from a position; retreat.
  • back down To withdraw from a position, opinion, or commitment.
  • back off To retreat or draw away.
  • back out To withdraw from something before completion.
  • back out To fail to keep a commitment or promise.
  • back up To cause to accumulate or undergo accumulation: The accident backed the traffic up for blocks. Traffic backed up in the tunnel.
  • back up Computer Science To make a backup of (a program or file).
  • idiom back and fill Nautical To maneuver a vessel in a narrow channel by adjusting the sails so as to let the wind in and out of them in alteration.
  • idiom back and fill To vacillate in one's actions or decisions.
  • idiom back to back Consecutively and without interruption: presented three speeches back to back.
  • idiom behind (one's) back In one's absence or without one's knowledge.
  • idiom have (one's) back up To be angry or irritated.
  • idiom off (someone's) back No longer nagging or urging someone to do something.
  • idiom on (someone's) back Persistently nagging or urging someone to do something.
  • n. A shallow vat or tub used chiefly by brewers.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Near the rear.
  • adj. Not current.
  • adj. Far from the main area.
  • adj. (phonetics) Produced in the back of the mouth.
  • adv. To or in a previous condition or place.
  • adv. Away from the front or from an edge.
  • adv. In a manner that impedes.
  • adv. In a reciprocal manner.
  • n. The rear of body, especially the part between the neck and the end of the spine and opposite the chest and belly.
  • n. The spine and associated tissues.
  • n. The side of any object which is opposite the front or useful side.
  • n. The reverse side; the side that is not normally seen.
  • n. That which is farthest away from the front.
  • n. Area behind, such as the backyard of a house
  • n. The part of something that goes last.
  • n. The side of a blade opposite the side used for cutting.
  • n. The part of a piece of clothing which covers the back.
  • n. The edge of a book which is bound.
  • n. The backrest, the part of a piece of furniture which receives the human back.
  • n. Upper part of a natural object which is considered to resemble an animal's back.
  • n. That part of the body that bears clothing.
  • n. In some team sports, a position behind most players on the team.
  • n. The keel and keelson of a ship.
  • n. The inside margin of a page.
  • n. The roof of a horizontal underground passage.
  • n. Effort, usually physical.
  • n. Large and attractive buttocks.
  • n. A non-alcoholic drink (often water or a soft drink), to go with hard liquor or a cocktail.
  • n. Among leather dealers, one of the thickest and stoutest tanned hides.
  • v. To go in the reverse direction.
  • v. To support.
  • v. to change direction contrary to its normal pattern (anticlockwise in the northern hemisphere, clockwise in the southern)
  • v. to brace the yards so that the wind presses on the front of the sail, to slow the ship
  • v. to lay out a second, smaller anchor to provide additional holding power

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Being at the back or in the rear; distant; remote.
  • adj. Being in arrear; overdue.
  • adj. Moving or operating backward.
  • adv. In, to, or toward, the rear.
  • adv. To the place from which one came; to the place or person from which something is taken or derived.
  • adv. To a former state, condition, or station.
  • adv. (Of time) In times past; ago.
  • adv. Away from contact; by reverse movement.
  • adv. In concealment or reserve; in one's own possession.
  • adv. In a state of restraint or hindrance.
  • adv. In return, repayment, or requital.
  • adv. In withdrawal from a statement, promise, or undertaking.
  • adv. In arrear.
  • n. 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.
  • n. A ferryboat. See Bac, 1.
  • n. 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.
  • n. An extended upper part, as of a mountain or ridge.
  • n. The outward or upper part of a thing, as opposed to the inner or lower part.
  • n. The part opposed to the front; the hinder or rear part of a thing.
  • n. 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.
  • n. The part of a cutting tool on the opposite side from its edge.
  • n. A support or resource in reserve.
  • n. The keel and keelson of a ship.
  • n. The upper part of a lode, or the roof of a horizontal underground passage.
  • n. A garment for the back; hence, clothing.
  • intransitive v. To move or go backward.
  • intransitive v. To change from one quarter to another by a course opposite to that of the sun; -- used of the wind.
  • intransitive v. To stand still behind another dog which has pointed; -- said of a dog.
  • transitive v. To get upon the back of; to mount.
  • transitive v. To place or seat upon the back.
  • transitive v. To drive or force backward; to cause to retreat or recede.
  • transitive v. To make a back for; to furnish with a back.
  • transitive v. To adjoin behind; to be at the back of.
  • transitive v. To write upon the back of; ; to indorse.
  • transitive v. To support; to maintain; to second or strengthen by aid or influence.
  • transitive v. To bet on the success of; -- as, to back a race horse.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Lying or being behind; opposite to the front; hinder; rear: as, the back part of anything; a back door or window; back stairs; the back side of a field.
  • Hence Away from the front position or rank; remote in place or condition; far in the rear, literally or figuratively: as, the back settlements of a country.
  • In a backward direction; returning in the direction whence it came: as, a back stroke; back water.
  • In arrear; overdue: as, back pay or rents.
  • To or toward the rear; backward; in the reverse direction: as, to step or shrink back; the tide flowed back.
  • From forward motion or progress; from advancing or advancement; in a state of restraint, hindrance, or retardation: with such verbs as keep and hold: as, he was held back with difficulty; the police kept back the crowd.
  • To or toward one's (its or their) original starting-point, place, or condition: as, to go back to the city, to one's old occupation, to one's former belief.
  • From a present, usual, or natural position; in a direction opposite to some other, expressed or understood; backward: as, to bend back one's finger; to force back the bolt of a door.
  • To or toward times or things past; backward in time: as, to look back on former ages.
  • From the proper destination or purpose: as, to keep back despatches.
  • Away from an undertaking, engagement, or promise.
  • In a position of retirement or withdrawal; off; aloof: absolutely or with from: as, the house stands a little back from the road.
  • Behind in position, literally or figuratively, or as regards progress made: absolutely or with of: as, the hills back of the town; the feeling back of his words; a few pages back.
  • Past in time; ago; since: as, a little back.
  • Again; in return: as, to answer back; to pay back a loan.
  • See the verbs.
  • To furnish with a back or backing; strengthen or support at the back: as, to back a book; to back an electrotype-plate; to back the armor-plates of a war-vessel with teak.
  • To cover the back of; clothe.
  • To support or aid, as with practical assistance, money, authority, influence, etc.; second or strengthen; reinforce: often with up: as, in his efforts he was backed by many influential men; he backed up his argument with a bet.
  • Hence In sporting, to recognize and support by standing or dropping: said of dogs which follow the lead of a dog on point.
  • To act or wager in favor of; express confidence in the success or superiority of: as, to back a horse in a race, or one of the parties in an argument.
  • To get upon the back of; mount: as, to back a horse.
  • To write something on the back of; address, as a letter; indorse.
  • To lie at the back of; adjoin in the rear; form a back or background to.
  • To carry on the back.
  • To cause to move backward; propel backward: as, to back a horse; to back a boat.
  • To reverse the action of: as, to back a stationary engine.
  • In coal-mining, to throw back into the gob or waste, as the small slack made in holing or undercutting the coal.
  • To move or force backward: as, to back up a carriage.
  • To reverse, as an engine or a press.
  • In electrotyping, to strengthen, as the thin shell or electroplate obtained from a wax mold of a form of type, an engraved plate, etc., by depositing upon its back type-metal to a certain thickness.
  • In base-ball and similar games, to stand behind, as another player, in order to stop and return any balls that may pass him: as, the center-field backs up the second-base.
  • To move or go backward: as, the horse backed; the train backed.
  • 2. To move in the reverse direction: said specifically of the wind, in contradistinction to haul (which see), when it changes in a manner contrary to the usual circuit.
  • To be vacillating or irresolute; shilly-shally.
  • In phonology, formed at the back of the mouth by raising or lowering the posterior part, or back, of the tongue.
  • From the beginning, or from early times; hence, with systematic thoroughness: as, he explained the whole thing from way back.
  • In building: To complete at the back or rear by building or by covering or finishing something: often used with up.
  • To finish at the back by cutting off, trimming, or smoothing: sometimes used with off.
  • To give a new back to (as a wall), by cutting away some part of the material: generally used with off.
  • To move (coal) along the working-face to the haulage road.
  • To provide (a bow) with a back made of a separate piece or of different material from that of the belly.
  • n. The whole hinder part of the human body, opposite the front and between the sides, or the upper part of the body of most animals; technically, the spinal, dorsal, or tergal portion, surface, or aspect of the trunk, extending from the scruff of the neck between the shoulders to the buttocks, hams, or bifurcation of the body at the legs; the tergum; the dorsum; the notæum.
  • n. The corresponding or related portion of any part or organ of the body; the posterior aspect of a thing; the part opposite to or furthest from the front, or in any way correlated with the back of the trunk: as, the back of the head, neck, arm, leg; the back of the hand; the back of the mouth.
  • n. Anything resembling the back in position.
  • n. As being behind, or in the furthest distance, with reference to the spectator, speaker, scene of action, etc.: as, the back of an island; the back of a wood; the back of a village.
  • n. As being the part which comes behind in the ordinary movements of a thing, or when it is used: as, the back of a knife, saw, etc.
  • n. As forming the upper, and especially the outer and upper, portion of a thing, like the back of one of the lower animals: as, the back of a hand-rail; the back of a rafter.
  • n. The ridge of a hill.
  • n. As being that which supports the ribs: as, the back of a ship (namely, the keel and keelson). See broken-backed. The upright hind part of a chair, serving as a support for the back. In botany, the outer side of an organ, or the side turned away from the axis: as, the back of a leaf or of a carpel.
  • n. By synecdoche, the whole body, with reference to clothing, because the back is usually most fully covered: as, he has not clothes to his back.
  • n. Clothing; a garment to cover the back.
  • n. plural In the leather trade, the thickest and best-tanned hides.
  • n. The address of a letter, formerly written on the back of the letter itself.
  • n. A reserve or secondary resource.
  • n. In ship-building, a timber bolted on the after end of the rudder, to complete its form.
  • n. In metal-mining, the portion of the lode which lies between any level or stope and the one next above it, or the surface. Generally, the backs are the unstoped portions of the lode, as far as laid open, and ready to be mined or stoped.
  • n. In coal-mining: Same as face. The inner end of a heading where work is going on.
  • n. In foot-ball, a position behind the line of rushers, or a player in this position: called quarter-back, half-back, three-quarters-back, or full-back, according to the distance from the rushers.
  • n. The earlier form of bat.
  • n. A large flat-bottomed ferry-boat, especially one adapted for carrying vehicles, and worked by a chain or rope fastened on each side of the stream.
  • n. A large cistern or vat used by brewers, distillers, dyers, etc., for holding liquids; a large tub or trough.
  • n. A kind of wooden trough for holding or carrying fuel, ashes, etc.; a coal-scuttle: commonly in the diminutive form bakey.
  • n.
  • n. A change in the direction of the wind in the order east, north, west, and south—that is, against the sun or against the hands of a watch.
  • n. In mining, a cleavage-plane: one of the main joints, vertical or nearly so, by which strata are intersected.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the series of vertebrae forming the axis of the skeleton and protecting the spinal cord
  • v. travel backward
  • v. be behind; approve of
  • n. the part of a garment that covers the back of your body
  • adj. related to or located at the back
  • n. the posterior part of a human (or animal) body from the neck to the end of the spine
  • adv. at or to or toward the back or rear
  • n. the protective covering on the front, back, and spine of a book
  • adv. in reply
  • n. the part of something that is furthest from the normal viewer
  • adv. in repayment or retaliation
  • adj. located at or near the back of an animal
  • n. the side that goes last or is not normally seen
  • n. a support that you can lean against while sitting
  • v. place a bet on
  • adv. in or to or toward a former location


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English bak, from Old English bæc.
Dutch bak, from French bac, from Old French, boat, from Vulgar Latin *baccus, vessel, probably of Celtic origin.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English bak, from Old English bæc, from Proto-Germanic *bakan (cf. Old Saxon bak (Middle Low German bak ("back")), West Frisian bekling 'chair back', Old High German bah, Swedish bak), possibly from Proto-Indo-European *bʰogo 'bending'. The adverb represents an aphetic form of aback.


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    goldylockz22 Diary Entry

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    ugotsoul Diary Entry

  • Nina needs help to roll from her belly to her back, so they put a circle that goes part way around ‘rolls belly to back’.

    1) Head Control and Use of Senses

  • I have only recently been getting back a little: no, getting _back_ nothing, -- but some new life, out of a new world, I think.

    The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 13, No. 77, March, 1864

  • If we have gone out of the way Jesus will bring us back, _if we want to come back_.

    The Life of Duty, v. 2 A year's plain sermons on the Gospels or Epistles

  • Nevertheless it was their turning back, or being _sent back_, as it was called, that gave a pretext to the slander that was then started.

    With Rimington

  • In the next issue he combined some of his smaller departments in the back; and thus, in 1896, he inaugurated the method of “running over into the back” which has now become a recognized principle in the make-up of magazines of larger size.

    Meeting a Reverse or Two

  • (_He lays back his ears and raises the hair along his back_.)

    Barks and Purrs


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  • after, following, imitating

    July 22, 2009