I was so taken aback by the claim that I telephoned Sheikh to ask whether it was true.
Many former social secretaries were taken aback and grumbled discreetly among themselves.
I was too taken aback to respond but after that first night, whenever I spoke to the police they made me feel ashamed.
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.