June 11, 2014 - Word of the Day: back
The word "back" has many different meanings. You can use it as a noun, a verb, an adjective, and as a part of several expressions.
As a noun, "back" is the area behind something. It's also a part of your body:
- You can carry heavy objects on your back.
- As people get older, they often experience pain in their back.
- The back of your hand is opposite of your palm.
- Try not to lift things with your back. Use your legs instead.
He's carrying something on his back.
If you use this word as a verb, it means to support someone or something. It's a very popular choice when talking about politics:
- Middle class and lower-income Americans usually back candidates from the Democratic party.
- Rich people and businesses usually back Republicans.
As an adjective, "back" is used to mean that something is given from the past, or something is in a rear area.
- Sandra is going to receive back pay from her employer for hours that she worked last year. (back pay = money that was not paid in the past.)
- Bob is experiencing back pain.
- Can you open the back door, please?
- There are some guys playing poker in the back room of the bar.
This word is often used when someone or something returns:
- When do you get back from your trip?
- Is he coming back?
- I won't be back until Tuesday.
- After a long illness, she's back at work.
- This trend in clothing is back.
- Shorter hair seems to be coming back among women.
It's also common to put "back" and "up" together to form the idiom, "back up." This means to support someone.
- I'm going to need some help in this meeting, so if you can back me up in any way, I'd appreciate it.
- Soldiers involved in a battle called in for back up support.
- Witnesses to the accident back up the claim that the driver of the SUV was responsible for the accident.
- He needs to back up his argument with more facts.
The word "back" is found in every day speech, idioms, and expressions:
- He's trying to get back at that company for all the problems they caused. (get back = get revenge.)
- They go way back. (They've been friends for a long time.)
- It's not nice to talk about someone behind his back. (behind one's back = to do or say something secretly)
- Don't back out of this agreement. (back out of = quit; not to honor a contract or agreement.)
- He's backing out on us.
- Julio backed down from a fight. (back down = to give up one's position.)
- Back off. (Get away, or stop what you're doing.)
- I've got your back. (I'll help you if you need help.)
You can find more examples for "back" on this idioms page.
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