archaic : backward, back
: in a position to catch the wind upon the forward surface (as of a sail)
: 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 The southern hospitality took Alabama football’s new offensive coordinator aback. Matt Stahl | Mstahl@al.com, al, 6 Aug. 2023 Free Daily and Monthly Horoscopes Read the full Cancer Daily Horoscope Leo (July 23 - August 22) Your own brilliance could take you aback today. USA TODAY, 23 July 2023 While the half-point increase was broadly expected, the dire warning about the fragility of the U.K. economy and stagflation, the toxic combination of no economic growth and inflation, took markets aback. Will Horner, WSJ, 4 Aug. 2022 When this arises, the surprise can take you aback. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 21 Apr. 2023 But even the internet was taken aback by the couple’s situation as much as Ramsey was. Jane Thier, Fortune, 14 Apr. 2023 Yeni Sanchez was hoping to buy soup for lunch and was taken aback by the closure, given the high amount of security. Roland Li, San Francisco Chronicle, 12 Apr. 2023 House Democrats received no comparable head’s up. Democrats were taken aback by the abruptness of Biden’s shift. W. James Antle Iii, Washington Examiner, 7 Apr. 2023 The woman who opened the door was smiling, and blond, which took Deanna aback—the adoption paperwork had said that her hair was dark, like Deanna’s. Larissa MacFarquhar, The New Yorker, 3 Apr. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'aback.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near aback

Cite this Entry

“Aback.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/aback. Accessed 29 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


: by surprise : unawares
taken aback by the turn of events

More from Merriam-Webster on aback

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