Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

Back is an adverb, noun, adjective or verb.

Back can mean ‘returning to an earlier starting point or situation’ or ‘moving to a point further away’ or ‘replying to something’. Back also means ‘at the rear of’ or ‘the part of a person or thing that is opposite the front.

Back as an adverb

Olga’s not looking forward to going back to school in September.

[taking a photograph]

Don’t move too far back or you’ll fall in the swimming pool.

Sorry, I’m just finishing a meeting. Can I ring you back in ten minutes?

Back as a noun

There’s a new restaurant at the back of our office building.

Will Hoskins is unlikely to play as he hurt his back badly playing in the Rugby World Cup semi-final and is still receiving treatment.

Back as an adjective

The reporters were chasing her and, in order to avoid the cameras, she had to use the back door of the theatre.

Unfortunately she’s spilt coffee over the back seat of the car.

Back as a verb

[talking about a pet dog]

He’s got a lovely temperament but he may panic and bite you if you back him into a corner.

Did you know that during his driving test he backed his car into a bicycle?

(“Back” from English Grammar Today © Cambridge University Press. Need grammar practice? Try English Grammar Today with Workbook.)
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

“Back”: More grammar results

Word of the Day

hoppy

like hops (= dried fruit used to make beer)

Word of the Day

Blog

Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More