Share this entry


Synonyms of back in English:


  • 1 they think she's broken her back
    spine, backbone, spinal column, vertebral column
    technicaldorsum, rachis
  • 2 the back of the house
    rear, rear side, other side;
    Nautical stern
    [Antonyms] front
  • 3 the back of the queue
    end, tail end, rear end, tail, far end;
    North American tag end
    [Antonyms] front, head
  • 4 the back of a postcard
    reverse, reverse side, other side, underside;
    informalflip side
    [Antonyms] front, face
  • Phrases

    behind someone's back

    secretly, without someone's knowledge, on the sly, deceitfully, slyly, sneakily, covertly, surreptitiously, furtively

    get/put someone's back up

    these kinds of questions tend to engage the other party, whereas assertions can put their backs up
    [Antonyms] please, gratify
    annoy, irritate, vex, make angry, make cross, anger, exasperate, irk, gall, pique, put out, displease, antagonize, get on someone's nerves, rub up the wrong way, ruffle, ruffle someone's feathers, make someone's hackles rise, raise someone's hackles;
    enrage, infuriate, madden, make someone's blood boil, drive to distraction, goad, provoke
    informalaggravate, peeve, hassle, miff, rile, nettle, needle, get, get to, bug, hack off, get under someone's skin, get in someone's hair, get up someone's nose, put someone's nose out of joint, get someone's goat, give someone the hump, rattle someone's cage, drive mad/crazy, drive round the bend/twist, drive up the wall, make someone see red
    British informalwind up, nark, get across, get on someone's wick
    North American informaltee off, tick off, burn up, rankle, ride, gravel
    vulgar slangpiss off
    British vulgar slangget on someone's tits
    informal, , datedgive someone the pip, get someone's dander up
    rareexacerbate, hump, rasp

    the back of beyond

    the middle of nowhere, the backwoods, the wilds, the hinterland, a backwater;
    Australian/New Zealand the back country, the backblocks, the booay;
    South African the backveld, the platteland
    North American informalthe boondocks, the boonies, the tall timbers
    Australian/New Zealand informalWoop Woop, beyond the black stump

    turn one's back on

    in 1973, she turned her back on her career
    abandon, give up, have done with, throw up;
    informalquit, pack in, jack in


    Back to top  
  • 1 she walked away without looking back he pushed his chair back
    backwards, behind one, to one's rear, rearwards;
    away, off
    [Antonyms] forward
  • 2 keep back from the roadside
    away, at a distance
  • 3 her husband left her a few months back
    ago, earlier, previously, before, in the past
  • verb

    Back to top  
  • 1 the project was backed by the English Tourist Board
    sponsor, finance, put up the money for, fund, subsidize, underwrite, promote, lend one's name to, be a patron of, act as guarantor of, support
    informalfoot the bill for, pick up the tab for
    North American informalbankroll, stake
  • 2 over 97 per cent backed the changes
    support, endorse, sanction, approve of, give one's blessing to, smile on, favour, advocate, promote, uphold, champion;
    vote for, ally oneself with, stand behind, side with, be on the side of, defend, take up the cudgels for;
    [Antonyms] oppose
  • 3 he backed the horse at 33–1
    bet on, place a bet on, gamble on, stake money on
  • 4 he backed slowly out of the garage
    reverse, move/drive backwards;
    backtrack, retrace one's steps
    [Antonyms] move forwards, advance
  • Phrases

    back away

    he took a step towards her and she hurriedly backed away
    [Antonyms] move forward
    draw back, step back, move away, back off, retreat, withdraw, pull back, give ground;
    shrink back, blench, cower, quail, quake

    back down

    the government backed down under pressure from the House of Lords
    give in, concede defeat, surrender, yield, submit, climb down, concede, reconsider;
    backtrack, back-pedal

    back out

    Coleman backed out of the deal
    renege on, go back on, withdraw from, pull out of, retreat from, fail to honour, abandon, default on, repudiate;
    informalget cold feet about, chicken out of

    back something up

    his statement was backed up by evidence from Mr Eric Bartlett
    [Antonyms] contradict, undermine
    substantiate, corroborate, confirm, support, bear out, endorse, bolster, reinforce, lend weight to;

    back someone up

    her husband's bound to back her up
    support, stand by, give one's support to, side with, be on someone's side, take someone's side, take someone's part;
    vouch for;
    help, assist, aid


    Back to top  
  • 1 the back garden
    [Antonyms] front
  • 2 the back row
    end, hind, hindmost, rearmost
    [Antonyms] front
  • 3 the bird's back feathers
    [Antonyms] front
  • 4 back copies of the journal
    past, old, previous, earlier, former, out of date
    [Antonyms] future
  • Word links

    dorsal, lumbar relating to the back
    supine lying on one's back
    posterior further back

    Definition of back in:

    Share this entry


    What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

    Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

    Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

    Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources