Definition of back noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary

      

    back

     noun
    noun
    NAmE//bæk//
     
     
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    part of body
  1. 1the part of the human body that is on the opposite side to the chest, between the neck, and the tops of the legs; the part of an animal's body that corresponds to this Do you sleep on your back or your stomach? He stood with his back to the door. They had their hands tied behind their backs. They set off with the wind to their backs (= behind them). I pulled (= injured) a muscle in my back playing tennis. back pain a back massage A small boy rode on the elephant's back. Topic CollocationsPhysical AppearanceA person may be described as having:eyes (bright) blue/green/(dark/light) brown/hazel eyes deep-set/sunken/bulging/protruding eyes small/beady/sparkling/twinkling/shifty eyes piercing/penetrating/steely eyes bloodshot/watery/puffy eyes bushy/thick/dark/raised/arched eyebrows long/dark/thick/curly/false eyelashes/lashesface a flat/bulbous/pointed/sharp/snub nose a straight/a pointy/a Roman/an aquiline nose full/thick/thin/pouty lips dry/chapped/cracked lips flushed/rosy/red/ruddy/pale cheeks soft/chubby/sunken cheeks white/perfect/crooked/protruding teeth a large/high/broad/wide forehead a strong/weak/pointed/double chin a long/full/bushy/wispy beard a full/thin goatee a long/thin/bushy/droopy/handlebar/pencil mustachehair and skin pale/fair/olive/dark/tanned skin dry/oily/smooth/rough/leathery/wrinkled skin a dark/pale/light/sallow/ruddy/olive/swarthy/clear complexion deep/fine/small/facial wrinkles blonde/blond/fair/(light/dark) brown/(jet-)black/auburn/red/ginger/gray hair straight/curly/wavy/frizzy/spiky hair thick/thin/fine/bushy/thinning hair dyed/bleached/soft/silky/dry/greasy/shiny hair long/short/shoulder-length/cropped hair a bald/balding/shaved head a receding hairline a bald patch/spot a side/center partbody a long/short/thick/slender/ (disapproving) scrawny neck broad/narrow/sloping/rounded/hunched shoulders a bare/broad/muscular/small/large chest a flat/round/swollen/bulging stomach a small/tiny/narrow/slim/slender/28-inch waist big/wide/narrow/slim hips a straight/bent/arched/broad/hairy back thin/slender/muscular arms big/large/small/manicured/calloused/gloved hands long/short/fat/slender/delicate/bony fingers long/muscular/hairy/shapely/ (informal) (often disapproving) skinny/spindly legs muscular/chubby/ (informal) (disapproving) flabby thighs/calves big/little/small/dainty/wide/narrow/bare feet a good/slim/slender/hourglass figure be of slim/medium/average/large/athletic/stocky build see also bareback, horseback
  2. 2 the row of bones in the middle of the back synonym backbone, spine She broke her back in a riding accident. He threw his back out (= dislocated something in his back) lifting the crates.
  3. part furthest from front
  4. 3 [usually singular] back (of something) the part or area of something that is furthest from the front We could only get seats in the back (= of the room). I found some old photos at the back of the drawer. He was shot in the back of the knee. The house has three bedrooms in the front and two in the back. There's room for three people in back. If you'd like to come out back (= to the area behind the house), I'll show you the garden. see also hardback, paperback
  5. of piece of paper
  6. 4[usually singular] back (of something) the part of a piece of paper, etc. that is on the opposite side to the one that has information or the most important information on it Write your name on the back of the check.
  7. of book
  8. 5[usually singular] back (of something) the last few pages of a book, etc. The television guide is at the back of the paper.
  9. of chair
  10. 6 the part of a chair, etc. against which you lean your back
  11. -backed
  12. 7(in adjectives) used to describe furniture that has the type of back mentioned a high-backed sofa
  13. in sports
  14. 8a player whose main role is to defend their team's goal compare forward, fullback, halfback, quarterback
  15. Which Word?the back / the rear / behind The back and the rear have a similar meaning, but the rear is used more in formal or official language:What's that in the back of the fridge? The exits are located at the rear of the aircraft.It is usual to talk about the back door of a house, but the rear exit of an aircraft or a public building. If something is behind something else, it is near to the back of it but not part of it. Compare:Our room was at the back of the hotelandThere’s a pretty little pond just behind our hotel.Idioms
      back to back
       
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    1. 1 if two people stand back to back, they stand with their backs facing or touching each other
    2. 2if two or more things happen back to back, they happen one after the other The team had to play three games back to back. see also back-to-back
    behind somebody's back
     
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     without someone's knowledge or permission Have you been talking about me behind my back? They went ahead and sold it behind my back. compare to somebody's face
    be on somebody's back(informal)
     
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    to keep asking or telling someone to do something that they do not want to do, in a way that they find annoying He's still on my back about that money I borrowed.
    cover your back(informal)
     
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    to realize that you may be blamed or criticized for something later and take action to avoid this Get everything in writing in order to cover your back.
    get off somebody's back(informal)
     
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    to stop annoying someone, for example by criticizing them, or asking them to do something Just get off my back, will you!
    have (got) somebody's back(informal)
     
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    to protect and support someone Don't worry, I've got your back. She's very loyal and she's got your back.
    have your back to/against the wall(informal)
     
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    to be in a difficult situation in which you are forced to do something but are unable to make the choices that you would like We had no choice but to sell—our backs were against the wall.
    have eyes in the back of your head
     
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    to be aware of everything that is happening around you, even things that seem difficult or impossible to see You can't get away with anything in her class. She has eyes in the back of her head.
    in/at the back of your mind
     
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    if a thought, etc. is in the back of your mind, you are aware of it but it is not what you are mainly thinking about In the back of my mind was a small, warning voice, telling me it was wrong.
    it's no skin off my, your, his, etc. nose/back(informal)
     
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    used to say that someone is not upset or annoyed about something because it does not affect them in a bad way
    it's no skin off my, your, his, etc. nose/back(informal)
     
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    used to say that someone is not upset or annoyed about something because it does not affect them in a bad way
    know somebody/something inside out,know somebody/something like the back of your hand(informal)
     
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    to be very familiar with something This is where I grew up. I know this area like the back of my hand.
    the last/final straw,the straw that breaks the camel's back
     
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    the last in a series of bad events, etc. that makes it impossible for you to accept a situation any longer
    off the back of a truck(informal)(humorous)
     
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    goods that fell off the back of a truck were probably stolen. People say or accept that they cameoff the back of a truckto avoid saying or asking where they really came from.
    (flat) on your back(informal)
     
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    in bed because you are sick She's been flat on her back for over a week now. (figurative) The bonds market was flat on its back (= business was very bad).
    on the back of something
     
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    as a result of an achievement or a success The profits growth came on the back of a 26 percent rise in sales.
    a pat on the back (for something/for doing something)
     
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    praise or approval for something that you have done well He deserves a pat on the back for all his hard work. Give yourself a pat on the back!
    pat somebody/yourself on the back
     
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    to praise someone or yourself for doing something well
    push something to the back of your mind
     
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    to try to forget about something unpleasant I tried to push the thought to the back of my mind.
    put your back into something
     
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    to use a lot of effort and energy on a particular task
    the shirt off somebody's back
     
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    anything that someone has, including the things they really need themselves, that someone else takes from them or they are willing to give He was the type of person who would give you the shirt off his back.
    a stab in the back(informal)
     
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    an act that harms someone, done by a person they thought was a friend Her refusal to support his campaign was a real stab in the back.
    stab somebody in the back
     
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    to do or say something that harms someone who trusts you synonym betray
    turn your back
     
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    to turn so that you are facing in the opposite direction
      turn your back on somebody/something
       
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    1. 1  to move so that you are standing or sitting with your back facing someone or something When on stage, try not to turn your back on the audience.
    2. 2to reject someone or something that you have previously been connected with She turned her back on them when they needed her. Some newspapers have turned their backs on discussion and argument.
    (like) water off a duck's back(informal)
     
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    used to say that something, especially criticism, has no effect on someone or something I can't tell my son what to do; it's water off a duck's back with him.
    you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours(saying)
     
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    used to say that if someone helps you, you will help them, even if this is unfair to others
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: back