\ 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

And when Ian says that Jamie wants a surprise made for his wife, Murtagh is taken aback. Outlander Fan, Marie Claire, "5 Biggest Takeaways From 'Outlander' Season 4 Episode 5," 3 Dec. 2018 After making a speech at a convention, Laurie Guest was taken aback by off-topic questions from an interviewer during a follow-up Q&A session. Sue Shellenbarger, WSJ, "How to Overcome Your Terror of Making an Off-the-Cuff Speech," 3 Dec. 2018 Last week, fans of the crooner were taken aback by the news that Nelson was supporting O’Rourke, who is challenging Republican Sen. Ted Cruz for his Senate seat in November. Kathleen Joyce, Fox News, "Willie Nelson to fans upset he's headlining rally for Dem Senate candidate: 'I don't care'," 19 Sep. 2018 When Rae Dunn finds herself in HomeGoods or TJ Maxx and is approached by fans, she's still taken aback. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "Here’s Your First Look At Cult-Favorite Dishware Designer Rae Dunn’s New Book," 10 Sep. 2018 Last month, residents of a small Florida town were taken aback by a straight-up rude blurb in a local paper, called Vero Beachside News. Marci Robin, Allure, "Tattoos May Improve Your Chances of Getting a Job, So Feel Free to Rub That in Your Judgmental Relative's Face," 13 Aug. 2018 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

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

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 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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with aback

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for aback

Spanish Central: Translation of aback

Nglish: Translation of aback for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of aback for Arabic Speakers

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).


a strong desire or propensity

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