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[kuhm-bak] /ˈkʌmˌbæk/
a return to a former higher rank, popularity, position, prosperity, etc.:
The ex-champion kept trying to make a comeback.
a clever or effective retort; rejoinder; riposte:
That was a great comeback the comedian made to the hecklers.
Informal. a basis or cause of complaint:
If you insist on buying these pointed shoes, you'll have no comeback when your toes start to hurt.
Origin of comeback
First recorded in 1815-25; noun use of verb phrase come back Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for comeback
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I gawps curious over at J. Bayard to see what comeback he has to this dose of mush, and finds him starin' foolish at her.

  • While I turned to answer it, my mind was still hunting a comeback to this.

  • I doubt whether I shall see you when you comeback, so write a jolly lot of letters.

    Sandra Belloni, Complete George Meredith
  • As she's beamin' straight at me I has to give her some comeback.

    Torchy As A Pa Sewell Ford
  • Now, with every chance for a comeback, Nan wanted me to pass!

    The Scapegoat Richard Maples
British Dictionary definitions for comeback


noun (informal)
a return to a former position, status, etc
a return or response, esp recriminatory
a quick reply; retort
verb (intransitive, adverb)
to return
to become fashionable again
to reply after a period of consideration: I'll come back to you on that next week
(US & Canadian) to argue back; retort
come back to someone, (of something forgotten) to return to someone's memory
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for comeback

"verbal retort," 1889, from come + back (adj.). Meaning "recovery, return to former position or condition after retirement or loss" is attested from 1908, American English.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for comeback



  1. A quick and witty retort; a withering riposte: Dorothy Parker was famous for devastating comebacks (1889+)
  2. A regaining of success, fame, health, etc: He's trying another comeback at 38 (1908+)
  3. A customer who returns merchandise; also, the returning itself (1950s+ Salespersons)
  4. A response to a call: Thanks for your comeback, Dead Duck (1970s+ Citizens band)
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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