A Dictionary of the English Language
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Back (noun)

View Scan · View Transcription · from pages 190, 191

View Scan · View Transcription · from pages 190, 191

Back. n.s. [bac, bæc, Sax. bach, Germ.]

  1. The hinder part of the body, from the neck to the thighs.

    As the voice goeth round, as well towards the back as towards the front of him that speaketh, so likewise doth the echo: for you have many back echoes to the place where you stand. Bacon's Nat. Hist. № 247.

    Part following enter, part remain without,
    With envy hear their fellow's conqu'ring shout;
    And mount on others backs in hope to share.
    Dryden.

  2. The outer part of the hand when it is shut; opposed to the palm.

    Methought love pitying me, when he saw this,
    Gave me your hands, the backs and palms to kiss.
    Donne.

  3. The outward part of the body; that which requires cloaths; opposed to the belly.

    Those who, by their ancestors, have been set free from a constant drudgery to their backs and their bellies, should bestow some time on their heads. Locke.

  4. The rear; opposed to the van.

    He might conclude, that Walter would be upon the king's back, as his majesty was upon his. Clarendon, b. viii.

  5. The place behind.

    Antheus, Sergestus grave, Cleanthus strong,
    And at their backs a mighty Trojan throng.
    Dryden.

  6. The part of any thing out of sight.

    Trees set upon the backs of chimneys do ripen fruit sooner. Bacon's Nat. Hist. № 856.

  7. The thick part of any tool, opposed to the edge; as the back of a knife or sword; whence backsword, or sword with a back; as,

    Bull dreaded not old Lewis either at backsword, single faulchion, or cudgel-play. Arbuthnot's History of J. Bull.

  8. To turn the back on one, is to forsake him, or neglect him.

    At the hour of death, all the friendships of the world shall bid him adieu, and the whole creation turn its back upon him. South.

  9. To turn the back, is to go away; to be not within the reach of taking cognizance.

    His back was no sooner turned, but they returned to their former rebellion. Sir J. Davies on Ireland.

Sources: Arbuthnot, John (227) · Bacon, Francis (396) · Clarendon, Edward (73) · Davies, John (45) · Donne, John (44) · Dryden, John (788) · Locke, John (269) · South, Robert (158)

Attributes: German (30) · Noun Substantive (1269) · Saxon (215)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Back (noun)." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: January 4, 2014. http://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/?p=9502.


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