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back and fill

Definition of back and fill in English:

1Trim the sails of a vessel so that the wind alternately fills and spills out of them, in order to maneuver in a limited space.
Example sentences
  • Sure, they make compromises and back and fill with the wind.
1.1Zigzag or vacillate.
Example sentences
  • Even as she wants to advance boldly, therefore, she is required by the evidence to back and fill, leaving the reader with a bewildering combination of affirmation and qualification.
See parent entry: back
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