follow Dictionary.com

11 Trending Words of 2014

aback

[uh-bak] /əˈbæk/
adverb
1.
toward the back.
2.
Nautical. so that the wind presses against the forward side of the sail or sails.
adjective, Nautical
3.
(of a sail) positioned so that the wind presses against the forward side.
4.
(of a yard) positioned so that its sail is laid aback.
Idioms
5.
taken aback, surprised and disconcerted:
I was taken aback by his harsh criticism.
Origin
1000
before 1000; Middle English abak, Old English on bæc to the rear. See a-1 on, back1
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for taken aback
  • And then he seems perpetually taken aback when his remarks provoke a backlash.
  • But others involved in the negotiations were taken aback by his optimism.
  • At first he was a bit taken aback by the budget constraints, but as soon as he made the mental adjustment, he was off and running.
British Dictionary definitions for taken aback

aback

/əˈbæk/
adverb
1.
taken aback
  1. startled or disconcerted
  2. (nautical) (of a vessel or sail) having the wind against the forward side so as to prevent forward motion
2.
(rare) towards the back; backwards
Word Origin
Old English on bæc to the back
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for taken aback

aback

adv.

c.1200, from Old English on bæc "at or on the back;" see back (n.). Now surviving mainly in taken aback, originally a nautical expression in reference to a vessel's square sails when a sudden change of wind flattens them back against the masts and stops the forward motion of the ship (1754). The figurative sense is first recorded 1840.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with taken aback

taken aback

see: take aback

aback

see: take aback
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for aback

Many English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for taken

9
10
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with taken aback