\ ə-ˈbak How to pronounce aback (audio) \

Definition of aback

1 archaic : backward, back
2 : in a position to catch the wind upon the forward surface (as of a sail)
3 : by surprise : unawares was taken aback by her sharp retort

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Examples of aback in a Sentence

completely taken aback by the neighbors' announcement that they were moving
Recent Examples on the Web Gavin’s side are taken aback by how close-knit and frank the Welsh are. The Economist, "I’m not going to lie “Gavin & Stacey” is a reminder that Britons can put differences aside," 26 Dec. 2019 Without preparation, teachers — even those used to working with students from dangerous neighborhoods and toxic environments — can be taken aback. Rochelle Riley, Freep.com, "Mich. kids are going to school traumatized — and teachers lack training, resources to help," 13 Dec. 2019 She recalled being taken aback in a good way the first time someone on set asked permission before tucking in her shirt. Erin Nicole Celletti, Allure, "Kaia Gerber Opened Up About Mom Cindy Crawford's Influence on Her Modeling Career," 12 Oct. 2019 The younger De Benedettis were taken aback by the paternal foray. The Economist, "Octogenarians are shaking up Italian business," 14 Nov. 2019 The level of victory even took some supporters aback. Christopher Magan, Twin Cities, "Which neighborhoods voted for St. Paul organized trash, which didn’t — and what likely drove them," 10 Nov. 2019 Not only were audiences wowed by the performance, but the judges were taken aback by the level of difficulty that Van Der Beek seamlessly executed. Laura Hanrahan, Woman's Day, "James Van Der Beek Earned A Perfect Score on 'DWTS' With an Emotional Contemporary Piece," 5 Nov. 2019 To add to Patrick’s stress, David was taken aback to learn his boyfriend had been keeping his sexuality a secret. Alamin Yohannes, EW.com, "Dan Levy spills Schitt's Creek season 5 secrets: Cabaret, that hike, 'A Little Bit Alexis,' and more," 23 Oct. 2019 And this one drew crews from local television news stations there; at one point, the board’s chairwoman, Christine Araujo, appeared taken aback when one television reporter placed a microphone in front of her. BostonGlobe.com, "accepted the resignation of one member — Dorchester real estate agent Craig Galvin," 11 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'aback.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of aback

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for aback

Time Traveler

The first known use of aback was before the 12th century

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Statistics for aback

Last Updated

7 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Aback.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/aback. Accessed 17 January 2020.

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More Definitions for aback


How to pronounce aback (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of aback

: by surprise


\ ə-ˈbak How to pronounce aback (audio) \

Kids Definition of aback

: by surprise He was taken aback by the change in plan.

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More from Merriam-Webster on aback

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for aback

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with aback

Spanish Central: Translation of aback

Nglish: Translation of aback for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of aback for Arabic Speakers

Comments on aback

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a plan in which a last survivor takes all

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