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back */*/*/
I UK [bæk] / US adverb
a) in the direction that is behind you

Don't look back, but there's a man following us.

He asked us to move back a few yards.

b) in a position where your back is leaning backwards
lean/sit/lie back:

She leant back in her chair.

I'm going to sit back and read the paper for a while.

2) away from someone or something, especially because they are dangerous

Get back – he's got a gun!

Everybody stand back while I light the fire.

a) away from an original position or place

Peel this label back to see if you have won a prize.

The band started playing as the curtain slowly went back.

b) away from your face

Her hair was tied back in a ponytail.

3) returning to a place or position

I'm never going back home.

Put those CDs back where you found them.

a) returning to an earlier state or condition

We're hoping things will be back to normal again soon.

I couldn't get back to sleep.

b) returning to a previous point in a discussion

Can we go back to what we were talking about earlier?

a) as a reply to someone

Jane phoned, and I said you'd phone her back later.

"Have you any idea where we are?" "No", Dan shouted back.

b) doing the same thing to someone as they have done to you

He punched me, so I punched him back.

look/stare/smile etc back:

Geoff was staring back at me in disbelief.

5) used for talking about a period of time in the past

Back in the '70s, disco music was very popular.

She had a minor operation a few years back.

Things were different back then.

a) to a period of time in the past

Think back: don't you remember anything?

b) to an earlier time on a clock or watch
set/put the clock back:

Don't forget to set the clocks back an hour tonight.

a) in a place that you have mentioned before, but that is different from the one you have just been talking about

Back at the hospital, the baby had just been born.

b) used for talking about a place where you live or work or used to live or work when you are in a different place

I have no idea what's going on back home.

Back in Spain, we used to spend summer in the mountains.

7) towards the beginning of something such as a journey or a book

You should have got off three stops back.

Go back a couple of pages.


II UK [bæk] / US adjective [only before noun]
1) furthest from the front

There's a map on the back page.

the back garden

the back bedroom

back door
2) used for describing money that is owed from an earlier date and has not been paid yet

back wages/taxes/rent

back street/road/lane — a street/road etc that is away from any main streets

His shop was down a little back street.

back three/four/five — the players in a football or hockey team whose job is to defend (= stop the other team from scoring goals)

We couldn't get the ball past their back four.

III UK [bæk] / US noun [countable]
Word forms "back":
singular back plural backs
1) the part of your body between your neck and your bottom, on the opposite side to your chest and stomach. The row of bones inside the back is called the backbone or spine

Will you scratch my back for me?

He's broken his back, but he's still alive.

(flat) on your back:

She was lying flat on her back on the bed.

a) the part of something that is furthest from the front
back of:

Get in the back of the car.

The sun burnt the back of my neck.

b) the part of a chair that you lean on when you are sitting on it

What's that mark on the back of the sofa?

3) an outside area behind a house or other building
out/round the back:

The kids are playing out the back.

a) the side of a page, card, picture etc that is not the main side
on the back:

a concert programme with Madonna's autograph on the back

back of:

I'll put my name on the back of the envelope.

b) the last part of a book, newspaper etc
back of:

A page had been torn out of the back of the book.

in/at the back:

a dictionary with a list of irregular verbs at the back

a) a player in a football or hockey team whose job is to defend (= stop the other team from scoring goals)
b) one of the positions on a team where a back plays, behind the front line of players

at/in the back of your mind — if something is at the back of your mind, you are thinking about it or it is affecting how you behave, perhaps without your realizing it

The thought that Paul might leave was always at the back of her mind.

get/put someone's back upBritish

informal to annoy someone

Don't ask him about it any more or you'll get his back up.

glad/happy/pleased to see the back ofinformal happy when you no longer have to deal with someone or something because they are annoying or unpleasant

I was glad to see the back of that computer – it was nothing but trouble.

can't wait to see the back of:

His wife couldn't wait to see the back of him.

beyond II, turn I

IV UK [bæk] / US verb
Word forms "back":
present tense I/you/we/they back he/she/it backs present participle backing past tense backed past participle backed
a) [transitive] to give support to a person, organization, or plan, making them more likely to succeed

Both main parties are backing these proposals.

back someone on something:

We'll back you all the way on this one!

b) [usually passive] to make an order or request more effective by threatening to do something if people do not do what you want

Schools need to have clear rules on bullying, backed by a system of punishments.

a) [intransitive/transitive] to move backwards, or to make someone move backwards
back into/onto/out of etc:

She backed out of the room carrying a tray.

He backed me into a corner at the party.

b) to make a car move backwards

Could you just back onto the driveway?

3) [transitive] to bet (= risk money) that a particular person or animal will win a race or competition

I'm backing France to win the championship.

4) [transitive, always passive] if a place is backed by something, it has something at the back of it or directly behind it

a large garden backed by trees

5) [transitive, often passive] music to play or sing the music that goes with the main singer or musician's performance

Manilow was backed by a full orchestra.

Phrasal verbs:

English dictionary. 2014.

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