back

{{11}}back (adj.) Middle English, from BACK (Cf. back) (n.) and BACK (Cf. back) (adv.). Formerly with comp. backer (c.1400), also backermore. To be on the back burner in the figurative sense is from 1960, from the image of a cook keeping a pot there to simmer while he or she works on another concoction at the front of the stove.
{{12}}back (adv.) late 14c., shortened from abak, from O.E. on bæc "backwards, behind, aback" (see BACK (Cf. back) (n.)). Back and forth attested from 1814.
{{12}}back (n.) O.E. bæc "back," from P.Gmc. *bakam (Cf. O.S., M.Du. bak, O.Fris. bek), with no known connections outside Germanic. The cognates mostly have been ousted in this sense in other modern Germanic languages by words akin to Modern English RIDGE (Cf. ridge) (Cf. Dan. ryg, Ger. Rücken). Many Indo-European languages show signs of once having distinguished the horizontal back of an animal (or a mountain range) from the upright back of a human. In other cases, a modern word for "back" may come from a word related to "spine" (It. schiena, Rus. spina) or "shoulder, shoulder blade" (Sp. espalda, Pol. plecy).
To turn (one's) back on (someone or something) "ignore" is from early 14c. Behind (someone's) back "clandestinely" is from late 14c.
To know (something) like the back of one's hand, implying familiarity, is first attested 1893. The first attested use of the phrase is from a dismissive speech made to a character in Robert Louis Stevenson's "Catriona":
If I durst speak to herself, you may be certain I would never dream of trusting it to you; because I know you like the back of my hand, and all your blustering talk is that much wind to me.
The story, a sequel to "Kidnapped," has a Scottish setting and context, and the back of my hand to you was noted in the late 19th century as a Scottish expression meaning "I will have nothing to do with you" [e.g. "Jamieson's Dictionary of the Scottish Language"]. In English generally, the back of (one's) hand has been used to imply contempt and rejection since at least 1300. Perhaps the connection of a menacing dismissal is what made Stevenson choose that particular anatomical reference.
{{13}}back (v.) late 15c., "to move (something) back," from BACK (Cf. back) (adv.). Meaning "to support" (as by a bet) is first attested 1540s. Related: Backed; backing.

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

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  • back — back …   Dictionnaire des rimes

  • back — back1 [bak] n. [ME bak < OE baec; akin to ON bak, OHG bahho] 1. the part of the body opposite to the front; in humans and many other animals, the part to the rear or top reaching from the nape of the neck to the end of the spine 2. the… …   English World dictionary

  • back — ► NOUN 1) the rear surface of the human body from the shoulders to the hips. 2) the corresponding upper surface of an animal s body. 3) the side or part of something away from the viewer. 4) the side or part of an object that is not normally seen …   English terms dictionary

  • Back — (b[a^]k), n. [AS. b[ae]c, bac; akin to Icel., Sw., & LG. bak, Dan. bag; cf. OHG. bahho ham, Skr. bhaj to turn, OSlav. b[=e]g[u^] flight. Cf. {Bacon}.] 1. In human beings, the hinder part of the body, extending from the neck to the end of the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Back — (b[a^]k), v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Backed} (b[a^]kt); p. pr. & vb. n. {Backing}.] [1913 Webster] 1. To get upon the back of; to mount. [1913 Webster] I will back him [a horse] straight. Shak. [1913 Webster] 2. To place or seat upon the back. [R.]… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Back — eines kleineren Schiffes Back eines Massengutfrachters Back ist ein s …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Back — Back, a. 1. Being at the back or in the rear; distant; remote; as, the back door; back settlements. [1913 Webster] 2. Being in arrear; overdue; as, back rent. [1913 Webster] 3. Moving or operating backward; as, back action. [1913 Webster] {Back… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Back — Back, adv. [Shortened from aback.] 1. In, to, or toward, the rear; as, to stand back; to step back. [1913 Webster] 2. To the place from which one came; to the place or person from which something is taken or derived; as, to go back for something… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • back — [bæk] verb [transitive] 1. to support someone or something, especially by giving money or using your influence: • The board backed Mr Standley, who plans to cut costs. • Shareholders have backed a plan to build a second plant. 2. FINANCE if …   Financial and business terms

  • Back on My B. S. — Back on My B.S. Studioalbum von Busta Rhymes Veröffentlichung 2009 Label Flipmode Records / Universal Motown Form …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Back-up — auch: Back|up 〈[bæ̣kʌp] n. 15 oder m. 6; EDV〉 Sicherungskopie von Computerdateien auf einem zweiten Speichermedium (neben der Festplatte) od. in komprimierter Form [<engl. backup „Rückendeckung, Unterstützung; Sicherheitskopie“] * * * Back up …   Universal-Lexikon

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