Aback meaning

ə-băk
By surprise.

He was taken aback by her caustic remarks.

adverb
13
1
(archaic) Back; backward.
adverb
4
1
(nautical) In such a way that the wind pushes against the forward side of a sail or sails.
adverb
3
1
(naut.) Backward against the mast, as the sails of a square-rigged vessel in a wind from straight ahead.
adverb
1
1
(archaic) Backward; back.
adverb
1
2
Advertisement
(archaic) Towards the back or rear; backwards. [First attested prior to 1150.]
adverb
0
0
(archaic) In the rear; a distance behind. [First attested prior to 1150.]

adverb
0
0
By surprise; startled; dumbfounded.
adverb
0
0
(nautical) Backward against the mast; said of the sails when pressed by the wind from the "wrong" (forward) side, or of a ship when its sails are set that way. [First attested in the late 17th century.]

By setting the foresail aback and the headsail in the middle one can bring a fore-and-aft rigged sailing boat practically to a halt even in heavy wind.

adverb
0
0
(obsolete) An abacus.

noun
0
0
Advertisement
taken aback
  • in an unmanageable condition, as because of a sudden shift of wind to the opposite side of the sails
  • startled and confused
idiom
1
0

Idioms and Phrasal Verbs

Origin of aback

  • From Middle English abak, from Old English on (“at, on, or toward”) + bæc (“back”).

    From Wiktionary

  • a- (“towards”) +‎ back (“back”).

    From Wiktionary

  • From abacus.

    From Wiktionary