Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

back

1 adverb
     
back1 S1 W1
1

return to place

in, into, or to the place or position where someone or something was before:
I'll be back in a minute.
Put that book back where you found it!
back in/to/into etc
Rory plugged the cable back into the socket.
I feel like going back to bed.
go/get/head etc back
We ought to try and get back before it gets dark.
He was back home by half-past eleven.
It's possible to travel there and back in a day.
2

as before

in or into the condition or situation you were in before:
Gary woke at 4am and couldn't get back to sleep.
It took me a long time to get my confidence back.
If you decide to marry him, there will be no going back (=you will not be able to get back to your previous situation).
go/get back to (doing) something
There's no way I'm going back to being poor.
It'll take a while for things to get back to normal.
3

previous place

in or to a place where you lived or worked before
back in/at
She was the one who had fired him from his first job back in South Africa.
back home (=in the place that you come from and think of as your home)
It reminded me of evenings back home.
4

backwards

in the opposite direction from the way you are facing [≠ forwards]:
He glanced back at the house.
Kirov stepped back a pace.
She tilted her head back to look at him.
5

reply/reaction

if you do something back, you do it as a reply or reaction to what someone has said or done:
Can I call you back later?
I'll pay you back on Friday.
'No, thanks!' he shouted back.
If he hits you, you just hit him back.
6

return something to somebody

if you give something, get something etc back, you return it to the person who first had it or you have it returned to you:
Can we have our ball back, please?
I want all my books back as soon as you've finished with them.
Give me back that letter! It's none of your business!
7

in the past

in or towards a time in the past:
a pile of newspapers dating back to the 1970s
A lot of emotional problems can be traced back to childhood.
Looking back on it, I should have known he was unhappy.
At times, I think back to my life in Moscow.
back in
The house was built back in 1235.
three years/two months etc back (=three years ago etc)
His wife died a couple of years back.
He called me a while back.
8

again

once again:
Go back over your work to check for any mistakes.
Liverpool were back level again two minutes later with a superb goal.
9

sit/lie/lean back

to sit or lie in a comfortable relaxed way:
Sit back, relax, and enjoy the show!
10

away

away from a surface, person, or thing:
She pulled the bandage back very carefully.
Her hair was brushed back from her face.
The woman nodded and stood back, allowing Patrick to enter.
11

back and forth

going in one direction and then in the opposite direction, and repeating this several times:
We travel back and forth all the time between Canada and England.
He was pacing back and forth.
12

towards beginning

towards the beginning of a book, tape, document etc:
Turn back to the summaries at the end of section 1.5.
Wind the tape back to the beginning.
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