aback definition by Webster's New World
Webster's New World College Dictionary Copyright © 2010 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio. Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
- Archaic backward; back
- Naut. backward against the mast, as the sails of a square-rigged vessel in a wind from straight ahead
Origin: Old English on bæc, at or on the back
aback definition by American Heritage Dictionary
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th edition Copyright © 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
- By surprise: He was taken aback by her caustic remarks.
- Nautical In such a way that the wind pushes against the forward side of a sail or sails.
- Archaic Back; backward.
aback - Phrases/Idioms
see take aback.
- Naut. in an unmanageable condition, as because of a sudden shift of wind to the opposite side of the sails
- startled and confused