Definition of aback in English:

aback

Syllabification: a·back
Pronunciation: /əˈbak
 
/

adverb

1 archaic Toward or situated to the rear: the little strip of pasture aback of the house
More example sentences
  • The two started down the dusty road and John was quick to follow, but his father's words pulled him aback.
  • Now he could look right through the tiny window over the roof, on to the tree-tops aback of the house.
2 Sailing With the sail pressed backward against the mast by a headwind.
More example sentences
  • Once the boat has tacked the jib will be aback.
  • The wind came now from this side, now from that, determined to catch the sails aback.
  • Peter holds the jib aback until our bow swings across the wind.

Origin

Old English on bæc. Long written as two words, the term came to be treated as a single word in nautical use.

Phrases

take someone aback

Shock or surprise someone: he was taken aback by the sharpness in her voice
More example sentences
  • The consul was present at the Supreme Court hearing, and I think she was taken aback and shocked by what she heard.
  • When you go to such a place, you are taken aback by the youthfulness of the crowd.
  • People in England are aware of the divide, but the extent of it took me aback.
Synonyms
surprise, shock, stun, stagger, astound, astonish, startle, take by surprise;
dumbfound, stop someone in their tracks;
shake (up), jolt, throw, unnerve, disconcert, unsettle, bewilder
informal flabbergast, floor, bowl over

Definition of aback in: