\ 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

Examples of aback in a Sentence

completely taken aback by the neighbors' announcement that they were moving
Recent Examples on the Web Even after all these years in Tijuana, I was taken aback by Misión 19’s sleek decor and imaginative menu. San Diego Union-Tribune, 17 May 2022 Williams-Jeter was a bit taken aback by her friends’ nonchalant tone. Lila Bromberg, Hartford Courant, 12 May 2022 Critics of the e-reader apps have also been taken aback by how swiftly schools can take down entire collections. David Ingram, NBC News, 12 May 2022 Other pilots were also taken aback by the passenger’s ability to remain cool under such pressure. Tori Latham, Robb Report, 11 May 2022 Yet he was taken aback — and impressed — that Mr. Breslow asked him for references before accepting his investment. New York Times, 10 May 2022 Some observers have been taken aback that Alito referenced Hale. Ken Armstrong, ProPublica, 6 May 2022 Jonquel Jones was taken aback when her agent approached her about one particular marketing opportunity last season. Lila Bromberg, Hartford Courant, 6 May 2022 Taken aback, Aaron Dorfman, the recruiting manager for the facility-services and plumbing company, emailed back. Chip Cutter, WSJ, 5 May 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of aback

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

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

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Statistics for aback

Last Updated

21 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Aback.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/aback. Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for aback


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

Kids Definition of aback

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

More from Merriam-Webster on aback

Nglish: Translation of aback for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of aback for Arabic Speakers


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