- toward the back.
- Nautical. so that the wind presses against the forward side of the sail or sails.
- (of a sail) positioned so that the wind presses against the forward side.
- (of a yard) positioned so that its sail is laid aback.
- taken aback, surprised and disconcerted: I was taken aback by his harsh criticism.
Origin of aback
Examples from the Web for aback
This has always put Arabs aback, made them vulnerable and eager to avoid uncalculated escalation.The End Of Deterrence
November 13, 2012
This discovery knocked us all aback, and we were quite at a loss how to proceed.Ned Myers
James Fenimore Cooper
Well, when you consider that, can you wonder I was set all aback?Cap'n Warren's Wards
Joseph C. Lincoln
It took her aback by its directness, and for a moment left her without an answer.The Snare
I certainly took him aback, and he almost dropped the glass.Two Sides of the Face
Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch
Sarah did not answer for a minute, for the question took her aback; then she laughed.Sarah's School Friend</p>
- taken aback
- startled or disconcerted
- nautical(of a vessel or sail) having the wind against the forward side so as to prevent forward motion
- rare towards the back; backwards
Word Origin and History for aback
c.1200, from Old English on bæc "at or on the back;" see back (n.). Now surviving mainly in taken aback, originally a nautical expression in reference to a vessel's square sails when a sudden change of wind flattens them back against the masts and stops the forward motion of the ship (1754). The figurative sense is first recorded 1840.
Idioms and Phrases with aback
see take aback.