\ə-ˈbak \

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

Taken aback by what just happened, Meghan immediately put her hand on her fellow royal's shoulder, presumably asking what happened. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "A Bug Attacked the Sophie of Wessex During Her Royal Ascot Carriage Ride With Meghan Markle," 20 June 2018 Taken aback by Rubio's criticism, Chambless and a second supervisor, Dana Southerland of Taylor County, separately tried to speak to Rubio personally about his criticism. Steve Bousquet, miamiherald, "Florida voting officials fire back at Rubio's criticism over cyber-threats | Miami Herald," 11 May 2018 One said lawmakers in the room were taken aback by Trump’s remarks. Alan Fram And Jonathan Lemire, BostonGlobe.com, "Trump appears to deny using crass epithet," 12 Jan. 2018 But he was taken aback when members of the intelligence community reached out to the company. Hiawatha Bray, BostonGlobe.com, "Tech community wrestles over working with government," 13 July 2018 Some people might've been taken aback, to say the least, at the man's nearly complete nudity outside on a public street in the middle of the day. Michelle L. Quinn, Post-Tribune, "People board train in East Chicago with more than just Pride Parade on their minds," 24 June 2018 One of the images shows Trump saluting a North Korean general, with Kim in the background looking somewhat taken aback. Tracy Wilkinson, latimes.com, "U.S. seeks to assuage Asian allies and secure China's support after North Korea summit," 14 June 2018 Willie Taggart’s high-octane personality along with a talented coaching staff helped Oregon rebound in 2017, but Taggart’s sudden departure to Florida State after one season left many in the program taken aback. Matt Murschel, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Oregon counts on Mario Cristobal to build on success, Ducks are No. 75 in 2018 preseason college football rankings," 13 June 2018 The San Francisco Chronicle and other media outlets identified him as Benje Choucroun, 13, of Marin County, Calif. Sanders, a mother of three young children, looked momentarily taken aback at his question, but answered swiftly. Anne Gearan, chicagotribune.com, "'Nothing that could be more terrifying': Sarah Sanders chokes up when boy asks her about school shootings," 31 May 2018

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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Phrases Related to aback

take aback

Statistics for aback

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Time Traveler for aback

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

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English Language Learners Definition of aback

: by surprise


\ə-ˈbak \

Kids Definition of aback

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

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Comments on aback

What made you want to look up aback? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


lying above or upon

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