\ ə-ˈbak How to pronounce aback (audio) \

Definition of aback

1 archaic : backward, back
2 : in a position to catch the wind upon the forward surface (as of a sail)
3 : by surprise : unawares was taken aback by her sharp retort

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Examples of aback in a Sentence

completely taken aback by the neighbors' announcement that they were moving
Recent Examples on the Web In episode 6, Ava and Mary come across Ronda and are immediately taken aback by its beauty. Rachel Paige, refinery29.com, "Warrior Nun’s Filming Locations Throughout Spain Will Make A Great Travel Itinerary… Someday," 5 July 2020 As a journalist who did a deep dive into the reviews about Baby Foot ahead of time and who fully understood the good, bad and ugly of the product, I was still taken aback when the skin on my feet came off in large swaths. Courtney Thompson, CNN Underscored, "The cult-favorite Baby Foot peel is disgusting — and it totally works," 2 July 2020 Even some of her closest advisers were taken aback to learn that a cousin of Breed’s was shot and killed by San Francisco police over a decade ago. Dominic Fracassa, SFChronicle.com, "London Breed: Black mayor. Raised in poverty, surrounded by violence. How will she handle police reform?," 29 June 2020 But she was taken aback by just how many people needed help getting food at all. Carrie Arnold, STAT, "Among people facing food insecurity, researchers find a hidden health issue: eating disorders," 25 June 2020 The 26-year-old, who is the first Black full-time driver to race in the Cup Series in nearly 50 years, was taken aback by the gesture and wept after climbing out of his car, according to ESPN. Jason Duaine Hahn, PEOPLE.com, "NASCAR Drivers Rally Around Bubba Wallace in Powerful Display of Support Day After Noose Was Found," 22 June 2020 But the decision to remove Berman unfolded with particularly dizzying speed and seemed to take even several of the participants aback. Katie Benner, BostonGlobe.com, "Trump personally fires US attorney who investigated his associates," 20 June 2020 Also taken aback was District 10 Councilman Clayton Perry, the council’s most conservative member and a frequent critic of city spending. Joshua Fechter, ExpressNews.com, "Routine grant for police auto theft unit draws unusual scrutiny from San Antonio City Council amid George Floyd protests," 11 June 2020 When Sharon Beck first saw the photo of herself – hat in one hand, scarf in the other, arms extended in victory overhead – she was taken aback. Michelle Matthews | Mmatthews@al.com, al, "At end of her cancer journey, this mom stands triumphant," 7 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'aback.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of aback

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for aback

Time Traveler

The first known use of aback was before the 12th century

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Statistics for aback

Last Updated

19 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Aback.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/aback. Accessed 11 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for aback


How to pronounce aback (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of aback

: by surprise


\ ə-ˈbak How to pronounce aback (audio) \

Kids Definition of aback

: by surprise He was taken aback by the change in plan.

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More from Merriam-Webster on aback

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for aback

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with aback

Spanish Central: Translation of aback

Nglish: Translation of aback for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of aback for Arabic Speakers

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