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Related to aback: taken aback

be set aback

To be startled, astonished, shocked, or disconcerted. (A less common variant of "be taken aback.") All of us were a bit set aback to learn that John was moving to England next month. I must admit that I was set aback when I heard we weren't receiving our bonuses this year.
See also: aback, set

set (someone) aback

To startle, astonish, shock, or disconcert someone. (A less common variant of "take someone aback.") It set us all aback a bit to learn that John was moving to England next month. I'm sure the news sets everyone aback, but please believe me that this is in the best interest of the company.
See also: aback, set

taken aback

Cliché surprised and confused. When Mary told me the news, I was taken aback for a moment. When I told my parents I was married, they were completely taken aback.
See also: aback, taken

taken aback

confused or surprised by something unexpected Company executives have been taken aback by the criticism. I asked him directly if he was looking for someone with my skills, and I think he was kind of taken aback.
Etymology: based on the literal meaning of aback (backward), which is not used in modern English
See also: aback, taken

take aback

Surprise, shock, as in He was taken aback by her caustic remark. This idiom comes from nautical terminology of the mid-1700s, when be taken aback referred to the stalling of a ship caused by a wind shift that made the sails lay back against the masts. Its figurative use was first recorded in 1829.
See also: aback, take
References in periodicals archive ?
So I am taken aback by allegations, about which I knew nothing.
Global Banking News-July 23, 2015--Israeli banks taken aback by threat of EU sanctions
With hardly 24 hours to go before the glitz and glamour of the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) descends on the city, visitors to the Dubai Mall on Thursdayevening were pleasantly taken aback to rub shoulders with Bollywood actress Katrina Kaif.
Summary: New Delhi: Taken aback by LK Advani's resignation from all party posts, BJP leaders on .
Sprinter Usain Bolt isn't easily scared, but he was taken aback on Monday by a vigorous Maori haka that was performed to welcome him to New Zealand.
He said: "I must admit they aback ha were a bit taken aback.
New York, September 14 ( ANI ): Britney Spears has even got Simon Cowell taken aback with her harsh comments on 'The X Factor,' with the media mogul calling her "surprisingly mean.
Summary: Even the Queen was taken aback by the splendour of the gifts she received from a Middle East Sultan this week.
I think some of our opponents were taken aback a bit by us earlier in the season, thinking we would be pushovers.
While National Savings & Investment (NS&I) enjoys its "can't go bust" reputation - because it is Government-backed - some of its regulars might have been taken aback at its speed in reducing rates after the latest Bank base rate cut.
But last week we had sex for the first time, and I was pretty taken aback.
Not that he was hiding or anything, but considering that Governor Lynch gave supporters 80 minutes' notice that he would be signing the civil unions bill on May 31, he must have been somewhat taken aback by the turnout of about 200 people to witness the event.
I was completely taken aback when a group of nuns asked me for my autograph after I was introduced at the world premiere in Vatican City on Sunday,'' confessed Oscar Isaac, who just flew in from Rome and plays Joseph in the film that opens today.
ALAN KING said yesterday he was taken aback by the news that Kauto Star will run in Saturday's William Hill Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown, where he will take on the trainer's Arkle winner and stable star Voy Por Ustedes.
When Josie unexpectedly meets her father for the first time, she's taken aback and swears she'll have nothing to do with him; but when she gets into a fight with another girl at school who calls her a wog, she calls her father, a lawyer, to come to her defense and they gradually develop a relationship.