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English definition of “back”

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adverb uk   /bæk/ us  

back adverb (RETURN)

B2 in, into, or towards a previous place or condition, or an earlier time: When you take the scissors, remember to put them back. He left a note saying "Gone out. Back soon." She went to Brazil for two years, but now she's back (= has returned). He looked back (= looked behind him) and saw they were following him. Looking at her old photographs brought back (= made her remember) a lot of memories. I was woken by a thunderstorm, and I couldn't get back to sleep (= could not sleep again). The last time we saw Lowell was back (= at an earlier time) in January. This tradition dates back to (= to the earlier time of) the 16th century.A2 in return: If he hits me, I'll hit him back. You're not just going to let her say those things about you without fighting back, are you?A2 in reply: I'm busy at the moment - can I call you back? I wrote to Donna several months ago, but she hasn't written back yet.
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back adverb (FURTHER AWAY)

B2 further away in distance: If we push the table back against the wall, we'll have more room. "Keep back!" he shouted, "Don't come any closer!" He sat back on the sofa. She threw back her head and laughed uproariously. The house is set back from the street.
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noun [C] uk   /bæk/ us  

back noun [C] (FURTHEST PART)

A2 the inside or outside part of an object, vehicle, building, etc. that is furthest from the front: He jotted her name down on the back of an envelope. I found my tennis racket at the back of the cupboard. We sat at the back of the bus. Our seats were right at the back of the auditorium. Ted was out/round the back (= in the area behind the house)." There is a beautiful garden at the back of (= behind) the house. If there's no reply at the front door, come round the back. He put his jacket on the back of his chair (= the part of the chair that you put your back against when you sit on it).back to back close together and facing in opposite directions: The office was full of computers, and we had to sit back to back in long rows. happening one after another, without interruption: Coming up after the break, three Rolling Stones classics back to back.
See also
back to front C2 UK ( US backwards) with the back part of something where the front should be: You've put your jumper on back to front.the back of your hand the side of your hand that has hair growing on it
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back noun [C] (BODY PART)

A2 the part of your body that is opposite to the front, from your shoulders to your bottom: I have a bad back. Sleeping on a bed that is too soft can be bad for your back. He lay on his back, staring at the ceiling. I turned my back (= turned around so that I could not see) while she dressed. She put her back out (= caused a serious injury to her back) lifting a box.
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back noun [C] (SPORT)

(in some sports, such as football) one of the players in a team who try to stop players from the other team from scoring goals, rather than trying to score goals himself or herself


verb uk   /bæk/ us  

back verb (SUPPORT)

C2 [T] to give support to someone or something with money or words: The management has refused to back our proposals.
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back verb (RISK MONEY)

to risk money by saying that you think a horse, team, etc. will win a race, game, or competition in order to win more money if they do: The horse I backed came in last.

back verb (MOVE AWAY)

C2 [I or T, + adv/prep] to (cause to) move backwards: Ann gave up driving when she backed the car into the garage door. Please could you back your car up a few feet so that I can get mine out of the driveway?

back verb (COVER)

[T] to cover the back of something with a material, often to make it stronger or thicker: The material is backed with a heavy lining.


adjective [before noun] uk   /bæk/ us  

back adjective [before noun] (POSITION)

at or near the back of something: She left the house by the back door. The back seat of the car folds down.
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back adjective [before noun] (PAID LATER)

paid after the end of a period of time when it should have been paid: They owe the staff several thousand in back pay. back rent/taxes
(Definition of back from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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