\ 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 Sale was a bit taken aback—he’d never put a date on it. Steven Levy, Wired, "A 25-Year-Old Bet Comes Due: Has Tech Destroyed Society?," 5 Jan. 2021 And Wall Street leaders have been taken aback by the harsh rhetoric of the current moment. Matt Egan, CNN, "Democracy is under attack. And Wall Street is sounding the alarm," 5 Jan. 2021 However, the New York Times reported that U.S. regulators at the FDA were not notified of the pause and taken aback by the news. Michael Zennie, Time, "The Oxford-AstraZeneca Vaccine Approval May Be the Most Globally Important Yet," 30 Dec. 2020 Murray was taken aback to learn James was already familiar with him. Jeff Mcdonald, ExpressNews.com, "For Spurs’ Dejounte Murray, a reunion with LeBron James on tap," 29 Dec. 2020 Anyone who wandered into the room at Green Bay’s Big Brothers, Big Sisters two weeks ago might have been taken aback to see the jerseys of Packers linebackers Rashan Gary and Christian Kirksey hanging on stands at the front of the room. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, "Baker Mayfield, Steph Curry among athletes getting creative with charitable efforts," 25 Dec. 2020 The garden’s executive director, Juliann Rooke, said Thursday that she was taken aback by the outpouring. Los Angeles Times, "What are we all wishing for in 2021? SoCal garden’s Wishing Tree has 10,000 answers," 25 Dec. 2020 Taken aback, Farmer opened an envelope and began counting $100 bills. Janine Puhak, Fox News, "Texas server shocked with $1,100 tip before Christmas, plans to pay it forward: 'Y'all!'," 24 Dec. 2020 At least one Michigan football signee was taken aback by the report of defensive coordinator Don Brown's dismissal. Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press, "Why Michigan football four-star commit was blindsided by Don Brown firing: 'Not pleased'," 23 Dec. 2020

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

21 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Aback.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/aback. Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.

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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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