1 part of the body
ADJ. broad | lean, slender | muscled, muscular, powerful, strong | bent | erect, straight | lower, upper | bad, stiff He's off work with a bad back.
VERB + BACK bend, stiffen, straighten | stretch He yawned and stretched his back as he got out of bed. | break, hurt, injure | arch The cat arched its back and hissed at the dog. | support | knead, massage | scratch
BACK + VERB arch | stiffen His back stiffened as he saw the photographers waiting. | ache
BACK + NOUN injury, pain, trouble | muscles | support a seat with good back support
PREP. behind your ~ They blindfolded him and tied his hands behind his back.
(figurative) People say bad things about him behind his back, but never to his face. | flat on your ~ I was flat on my back for six weeks when I broke my leg. | on your ~ He was carrying a small child on his back. She was lying on her back on the sofa. | in the/your ~ I've got a nagging pain in my lower back. | ~ to He was standing with his back to the fire.
PHRASES sb's back is turned (figurative) The boss was certain that the staff would stop working as soon as his back was turned. | back to back The children sat back to back so they couldn't see each others' drawings. | a pat/slap on the back He smiled and gave me a hearty slap on the back.
(figurative) She deserves a pat on the back for her efforts. | the small of your back She felt a sharp pain in the small (= the lowest part of) her back. | turn your back (on sb/sth) Actors should never turn their backs on the audience.
(figurative) She decided to turn her back on Paris and return to her home town.
2 part furthest from the front
PREP. around/round the ~ If you'd like to come round the back (= to the area behind the house), I'll show you the garden. | at the ~ We could only get seats at the back. | down the ~ My money's all fallen down the back of the cushion. | in the ~ Two passengers sat in the back of the car. | to the ~ The man was refusing to go to the back of the queue. | towards the ~ The arts page is usually towards the back of the newspaper.
PHRASES back to front I had my pullover on back to front (= with the back where the front should be).
1 move backwards
ADV. hastily, hurriedly She backed away hurriedly. | away, in, off, up If you can't drive in forwards, try backing it in. Back off! There's no need to yell at me. Can you back your car up so that I can get through?
VERB + BACK try to He tried to back away.
PREP. across She backed across the room. | away from The children backed away from him in fear. | into She backed into the garage. | out of He backed out of the drive.
2 support sb/sth
ADV. firmly, strongly Teachers are strongly backing the new educational policies. | fully | overwhelmingly | unanimously | openly, publicly | financially his election bid was financially backed by a soft drinks company. | up I'll back you up if they don't believe you. PHRASAL VERBS back down
VERB + BACK refuse to | be forced to, be obliged to
PREP. from The government was forced to back down from implementing these proposals. | on She refused to back down on a point of principle. | over The committee finally backed down over the issue of spending cuts.