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
before 1000; Middle English abak, Old English on bæc
to the rear. See a-1
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
Related Words for taken abackbewildered
British Dictionary definitions for 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 for aback
Old English on bæc to the back
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for taken 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.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Idioms and Phrases with taken aback
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.