back is to/against the wall

idiom
Updated on: 15 Nov 2017

Definition of back is to/against the wall

: in a bad position in which one is forced to do something in order to avoid failure
  • We knew that with so little time and money left to finish the project we had our backs to the wall.

Word by Word Definitions

back play
  1. : the rear part of the human body especially from the neck to the end of the spine

  2. : the body considered as the wearer of clothes

  3. : capacity for labor, effort, or endurance

  1. : to, toward, or at the rear

  2. : in or into the past : backward in time

  3. : to or at an angle off the vertical

  1. : being at or in the back

  2. : distant from a central or main area

  3. : articulated at or toward the back of the oral passage : formed deep within the mouth

  1. : to support by material or moral assistance

  2. : substantiate

  3. : to assume financial responsibility for

against play
  1. : in opposition or hostility to

  2. : contrary to

  3. : in competition with

  1. : in preparation for the time when

wall play
  1. : a high thick masonry structure forming a long rampart or an enclosure chiefly for defense

  2. : a masonry fence around a garden, park, or estate

  3. : a structure that serves to hold back pressure (as of water or sliding earth)

  1. : to provide, cover with, or surround with or as if with a wall

  2. : to separate by or as if by a wall

  3. : immure

  1. : to roll in a dramatic manner

  2. : to roll (one's eyes) in a dramatic manner


Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!