back to the wall

back to the wall

Also, back against the wall. In a hard-pressed situation; also, without any way of escape. For example, In the closing few minutes, our team had its back to the wall but continued to fight gallantly , or The bank has him with his back to the wall; he'll have to pay up now. This term was used originally for a military force that is making a last stand. [First half of 1500s]
See also: back, wall
References in classic literature ?
Thereupon he seated himself with his back to the wall and his face to the door, and finding an English newspaper on the table, read it until they reached the docks.
I can't make this out," said he, when he came home from the play one night, and was drinking a glass of cold grog, with his back to the wall, in order that he mightn't be able to fancy there was any one behind him--"I can't make it out," said he; and just then his eyes rested on the little closet that had been always locked up, and a shudder ran through his whole frame from top to toe.
I crouched at the foot of the staircase with my back to the wall, shivering violently.
But, for all that," says he, "I can be sorry to see another man with his back to the wall.
Behind these, back to back with them and facing the opposite wall, are five corresponding rows of cells, accessible by similar means: so that supposing the prisoners locked up in their cells, an officer stationed on the ground, with his back to the wall, has half their number under his eye at once; the remaining half being equally under the observation of another officer on the opposite side; and all in one great apartment.
He seated himself on the floor with his back to the wall and his legs crossed, and went on talking easily; he soon put Jurgis on a friendly footing--he was evidently a man of the world, used to getting on, and not too proud to hold conversation with a mere laboring man.
When I was in Sogd I saw a great building, like a palace, the gates of which were open and fixed back to the wall with large nails.
It was clear to me, however, that the shutter belonging to the window at the head of the bed, would, if swung fully back to the wall, reach to within two feet of the lightning-rod.
Back-to-the-wall toilets are a great way to hide the unsightly waste-pipe connector going into the pan because, as the name says, they go right back to the wall without a gap, perfect if the connector would be in your eyeline.
Cpl Payne switches his attention to the prisoner to his left who is pictured with his legs bent, back to the wall.
As defending champion, the 24-year-old Hamilton already has his back to the wall in his effort to become the first Briton to be crowned two years in succession.
Glasvegas hark back to the wall of sound 60s with tales of desperation and loss, while White Lies have stormed onto the scene with a thumping take on 80s synth pop.
Catch it on the rebound and throw it back to the wall immediately.
With his back to the wall, Guerrero came back and stopped Sandro Marcos in the third round last May, then took apart Diaz in a rematch on June 23 in Oakland, knocking him out in the sixth round.
Sit on the floor with your back to the wall, and pull your weight up by the ballet barre.