- 1 • archaic Towards or situated to the rear; back: the little strip of pasture aback of the houseMore 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 backwards against the mast by a headwind: Peter holds the jib aback until our bow swings across the windMore 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.
take someone aback
- Shock or surprise someone: he was taken aback by her directnessMore example sentences
surprise, shock, stun, stagger, astound, astonish, startle, take by surprise; dumbfound, daze, nonplus, stop someone in their tracks, stupefy, take someone's breath away; shake (up), jolt, throw, unnerve, disconcert, disturb, disquiet, unsettle, discompose, bewilder
- 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.