What does back mean?

Definitions for back

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word back.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. back, dorsum(noun)

    the posterior part of a human (or animal) body from the neck to the end of the spine

    "his back was nicely tanned"

  2. rear, back(noun)

    the side that goes last or is not normally seen

    "he wrote the date on the back of the photograph"

  3. back, rear(noun)

    the part of something that is furthest from the normal viewer

    "he stood at the back of the stage"; "it was hidden in the rear of the store"

  4. back(noun)

    (football) a person who plays in the backfield

  5. spinal column, vertebral column, spine, backbone, back, rachis(noun)

    the series of vertebrae forming the axis of the skeleton and protecting the spinal cord

    "the fall broke his back"

  6. binding, book binding, cover, back(noun)

    the protective covering on the front, back, and spine of a book

    "the book had a leather binding"

  7. back(noun)

    the part of a garment that covers the back of your body

    "they pinned a `kick me' sign on his back"

  8. back, backrest(noun)

    a support that you can lean against while sitting

    "the back of the dental chair was adjustable"

  9. back(adj)

    (American football) the position of a player on a football team who is stationed behind the line of scrimmage

  10. back(a)(adj)

    related to or located at the back

    "the back yard"; "the back entrance"

  11. back(a), hind(a), hinder(a)(adj)

    located at or near the back of an animal

    "back (or hind) legs"; "the hinder part of a carcass"

  12. back(a)(verb)

    of an earlier date

    "back issues of the magazine"

  13. back, endorse, indorse, plump for, plunk for, support(verb)

    be behind; approve of

    "He plumped for the Labor Party"; "I backed Kennedy in 1960"

  14. back(verb)

    travel backward

    "back into the driveway"; "The car backed up and hit the tree"

  15. second, back, endorse, indorse(verb)

    give support or one's approval to

    "I'll second that motion"; "I can't back this plan"; "endorse a new project"

  16. back(verb)

    cause to travel backward

    "back the car into the parking spot"

  17. back(verb)

    support financial backing for

    "back this enterprise"

  18. back(verb)

    be in back of

    "My garage backs their yard"

  19. bet on, back, gage, stake, game, punt(verb)

    place a bet on

    "Which horse are you backing?"; "I'm betting on the new horse"

  20. back(verb)

    shift to a counterclockwise direction

    "the wind backed"

  21. back, back up(verb)

    establish as valid or genuine

    "Can you back up your claims?"

  22. back(adverb)

    strengthen by providing with a back or backing

  23. back(adverb)

    in or to or toward a former location

    "she went back to her parents' house"

  24. back, backward, backwards, rearward, rearwards(adverb)

    at or to or toward the back or rear

    "he moved back"; "tripped when he stepped backward"; "she looked rearward out the window of the car"

  25. back(adverb)

    in or to or toward an original condition

    "he went back to sleep"

  26. back, backward(adverb)

    in or to or toward a past time

    "set the clocks back an hour"; "never look back"; "lovers of the past looking fondly backward"

  27. back(adverb)

    in reply

    "he wrote back three days later"

  28. back(adverb)

    in repayment or retaliation

    "we paid back everything we had borrowed"; "he hit me and I hit him back"; "I was kept in after school for talking back to the teacher"


  1. back(Noun)

    The rear of 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?

  2. back(Noun)

    The spine and associated tissues.

    I hurt my back lifting that dictionary.

  3. back(Noun)

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

    Turn the book over and look at the back.

  4. back(Noun)

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

    I hung the clothes on the back of the door.

  5. back(Noun)

    That which is farthest away from the front.

    He sat in the back of the room.

  6. back(Noun)

    Area behind, such as the backyard of a house

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

  7. back(Noun)

    The part of something that goes last.

    The car was near the back of the train.

  8. back(Noun)

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

    Tap it with the back of your knife.

  9. back(Noun)

    The part of a piece of clothing which covers the back.

    I still need to finish the back of your dress.

  10. back(Verb)

    To go in the reverse direction.

    The train backed into the station.

  11. back(Verb)

    To support.

    I back you all the way.

  12. back(Verb)

    to change direction contrary to its normal pattern (anticlockwise in the northern hemisphere, clockwise in the southern)

  13. back(Verb)

    to brace the yards so that the wind presses on the front of the sail, to slow the ship

  14. back(Verb)

    to lay out a second, smaller anchor to provide additional holding power

  15. back(Noun)

    The edge of a book which is bound.

    The titles are printed on the backs of the books.

  16. back(Noun)

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

    Can you fix the back of this chair?

  17. back(Noun)

    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.

  18. back(Noun)

    That part of the body that bears clothing.

  19. back(Noun)

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

    The backs were lined up in an I formation.

  20. back(Noun)

    The keel and keelson of a ship.

    The ship's back broke in the pounding surf.

  21. back(Noun)

    The inside margin of a page.

  22. back(Noun)

    The roof of a horizontal underground passage.

  23. back(Noun)

    Effort, usually physical.

    Put some back into it!

  24. back(Noun)

    Large and attractive buttocks.

  25. back(Noun)

    A non-alcoholic drink (often water or a soft drink), to go with hard liquor or a cocktail.

  26. back(Adverb)

    To or in a previous condition or place.

  27. back(Adverb)

    Away from the front or from an edge.

  28. back(Adverb)

    In a manner that impedes.

    Fear held him back.

  29. back(Adverb)

    In a reciprocal manner.

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

  30. back(Adjective)

    Near the rear.

    Go in the back door of the house.

  31. back(Adjective)

    Not current.

    I'd like to find a back issue of that magazine.

  32. back(Adjective)

    Far from the main area.

    They took a back road.

  33. back(Adjective)

    Produced in the back of the mouth.

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

  34. Origin: bak, from bæc, from bakan (cf. Old Saxon bak (Middle Low German bak), West Frisian beklingling 'chair back', Old High German bah, Swedish bak), possibly from bʰogo 'bending'. The adverb represents an aphetic form of aback.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Back(noun)

    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. Back(noun)

    a ferryboat. See Bac, 1

  3. Back(noun)

    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; as, the back of a horse, fish, or lobster

  4. Back(noun)

    an extended upper part, as of a mountain or ridge

  5. Back(noun)

    the outward or upper part of a thing, as opposed to the inner or lower part; as, the back of the hand, the back of the foot, the back of a hand rail

  6. Back(noun)

    the part opposed to the front; the hinder or rear part of a thing; as, the back of a book; the back of an army; the back of a chimney

  7. Back(noun)

    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; as, the back of an island, of a hill, or of a village

  8. Back(noun)

    the part of a cutting tool on the opposite side from its edge; as, the back of a knife, or of a saw

  9. Back(noun)

    a support or resource in reserve

  10. Back(noun)

    the keel and keelson of a ship

  11. Back(noun)

    the upper part of a lode, or the roof of a horizontal underground passage

  12. Back(noun)

    a garment for the back; hence, clothing

  13. Back(adj)

    being at the back or in the rear; distant; remote; as, the back door; back settlements

  14. Back(adj)

    being in arrear; overdue; as, back rent

  15. Back(adj)

    moving or operating backward; as, back action

  16. Back(verb)

    to get upon the back of; to mount

  17. Back(verb)

    to place or seat upon the back

  18. Back(verb)

    to drive or force backward; to cause to retreat or recede; as, to back oxen

  19. Back(verb)

    to make a back for; to furnish with a back; as, to back books

  20. Back(verb)

    to adjoin behind; to be at the back of

  21. Back(verb)

    to write upon the back of; as, to back a letter; to indorse; as, to back a note or legal document

  22. Back(verb)

    to support; to maintain; to second or strengthen by aid or influence; as, to back a friend

  23. Back(verb)

    to bet on the success of; -- as, to back a race horse

  24. Back(verb)

    to move or go backward; as, the horse refuses to back

  25. Back(verb)

    to change from one quarter to another by a course opposite to that of the sun; -- used of the wind

  26. Back(verb)

    to stand still behind another dog which has pointed; -- said of a dog

  27. Back(adverb)

    in, to, or toward, the rear; as, to stand back; to step back

  28. Back(adverb)

    to the place from which one came; to the place or person from which something is taken or derived; as, to go back for something left behind; to go back to one's native place; to put a book back after reading it

  29. Back(adverb)

    to a former state, condition, or station; as, to go back to private life; to go back to barbarism

  30. Back(adverb)

    (Of time) In times past; ago

  31. Back(adverb)

    away from contact; by reverse movement

  32. Back(adverb)

    in concealment or reserve; in one's own possession; as, to keep back the truth; to keep back part of the money due to another

  33. Back(adverb)

    in a state of restraint or hindrance

  34. Back(adverb)

    in return, repayment, or requital

  35. Back(adverb)

    in withdrawal from a statement, promise, or undertaking; as, he took back0 the offensive words

  36. Back(adverb)

    in arrear; as, to be back in one's rent


  1. Back

    Back is a district and a village on the Isle of Lewis on the coast of Broadbay, in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland. The road through Back commences at a road junction in Newmarket, north of Stornoway. It is a little touristed part of the Hebrides despite having some of the best beaches in Lewis, but remain popular with surfers, windsurfers and kite surfers. Also along the Back road, is the Coll Pottery - open to the public and also the cairn at Gress.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Back

    bak, n. a brewer's or dyer's tub or trough. [Dut. bak.]

  2. Back

    bak, n. the hinder part of the body in man, and the upper part in beasts, extending from the neck and shoulders to the extremity of the backbone: put for the whole body in speaking of clothes: the hinder part, or the part opposite to the front side: the convex part of a book, opposite to the opening of the leaves: the thick edge of a knife or the like: the upright hind part of a chair: the surface of the sea, or of a river: the keel and keelson of a ship: (football) one of the players stationed behind the 'forwards,' the full back's duty being merely to guard the goal: (mining) that side of an inclined mineral lode which is nearest the surface of the ground—the back of a level is the ground between it and the level above.—adv. to the place from which one came: to a former state or condition: behind: behind in time: in return: again.—v.t. to get upon the back of: to help, as if standing at one's back: to force back: to support one's opinion by a wager or bet—'to back a horse,' to bet money on his winning in a race, 'to back the field,' to bet upon all the horses in a field, against one in particular: to countersign a warrant, or indorse a cheque or bill; to write or print at the back of, as a parliamentary bill, or the like: to put or propel backward, or in the opposite direction, by reversing the action, as of an engine or a boat—hence the phrases, To back the oars, To back water.—v.i. to move or go back.—n. Back′-band, a broad strap or chain passing over the cart saddle, and serving to keep up the shafts of a vehicle.—v.t. Back′bite, to speak evil of any one behind his back or in his absence.—ns. Back′biter; Back′biting; Back′-board, a board placed at the back of a cart, boat, &c.: a board fastened across the back to straighten the figure; Back′bond (Scots law), a deed attaching a qualification or condition to the terms of a conveyance or other instrument—used when particular circumstances render it necessary to express in a separate form the limitations or qualifications of a right; Back′bone, the bone of the back, the vertebral column: the main support of anything: mainstay: firmness, reliableness; Back′-door, a door in the back part of a building: (attrib.) unworthily secret: clandestine.—adj. Backed, as in humpbacked.—ns. Back′-end, the later part of a season: the late autumn; Back′er, one who backs or supports another in a contest: one who bets on a horse or the like; Back′-fall, a fall on the back in wrestling—also figuratively: a lever in the coupler of an organ; Back′friend (obs.), a pretended friend: a backer, a friend who stands at one's back; Back′ground, ground at the back: a place of obscurity: the space behind the principal figures of a picture; Back′-hair, the long hair at the back of a woman's head; Back′-hand, the hand turned backwards in making a stroke: handwriting with the letters sloped backwards.—adj. Back′-hand′ed, with the hand turned backward (as of a blow): indirect.—ns. Back′-hand′er, a blow with the back of the hand: an extra glass of wine out of turn, the bottle being passed back; Back′ing, support at t

The Roycroft Dictionary

  1. back

    1. That part of the body to which your friend directs his remarks when he tells you the truth. 2. A smooth surface composed of skin and bones which stretches between Land's End and John O'Groat's.

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. back

    To back an anchor. To carry a small anchor ahead of the one by which the ship rides, to partake of the strain, and check the latter from coming home.--To back a ship at anchor. For this purpose the mizen top-sail is generally used; a hawser should be kept ready to wind her, and if the wind falls she must be hove apeak.--To back and fill. To get to windward in very narrow channels, by a series of smart alternate boards and backing, with weather tides.--To back a sail. To brace its yard so that the wind may blow directly on the front of the sail, and thus retard the ship's course. A sailing vessel is backed by means of the sails, a steamer by reversing the paddles or screw-propeller.--To back astern. To impel the water with the oars contrary to the usual mode, or towards the head of the boat, so that she shall recede.--To back the larboard or starboard oars. To back with the right or left oars only, so as to round suddenly.--To back out. (See Back a Sail.) The term is also familiarly used for retreating out of a difficulty.--To back a rope or chain, is to put on a preventer when it is thought likely to break from age or extra strain.--To back water. To impel a boat astern, so as to recede in a direction opposite to the former course.--Backing the worming. The act of passing small yarn in the holidays, or crevices left between the worming and edges of the rope, to prevent the admission of wet, or to render all parts of equal diameter, so that the service may be smooth.--Wind backing. The wind is said to back when it changes contrary to its usual circuit. In the northern hemisphere on the polar side of the trades, the wind usually changes from east, by the south, to west, and so on to north. In the same latitudes in the southern hemisphere the reverse usually takes place. When it backs, it is generally supposed to be a sign of a freshening breeze.

  2. back

    The outside or convex part of compass-timber. Also a wharf.

Editors Contribution

  1. back

    Give to the person who gave it to you.

    I gave him back the money for the product as the product was not the correct size.

    Submitted by MaryC on July 5, 2016  

Suggested Resources

  1. BACK

    What does BACK stand for? -- Explore the various meanings for the BACK acronym on the Abbreviations.com website.

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'back' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #111

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'back' in Written Corpus Frequency: #125

  3. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'back' in Nouns Frequency: #166

  4. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'back' in Verbs Frequency: #427

  5. Adverbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'back' in Adverbs Frequency: #14

  6. Adjectives Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'back' in Adjectives Frequency: #642

How to pronounce back?

  1. Alex
    US English

How to say back in sign language?

  1. back


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of back in Chaldean Numerology is: 8

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of back in Pythagorean Numerology is: 8

Examples of back in a Sentence

  1. Beth Gleason:

    It took me back.

  2. Josh Boschee:

    It will be back.

  3. Johannes Hahn:

    I will come back.

  4. Donald Trump:

    Go back to mommy.

  5. Colin Brown:

    You can't go back.

Images & Illustrations of back

  1. backbackbackbackback

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for back

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