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1. To move slowly and carefully away from something or someone. Kids, back away from the expensive vase! If you encounter a grizzly bear, back away slowly while talking in a normal tone.
2. To retreat on a particular idea or course of action. I think that Marie is backing away from the contract now. Management seems to be backing away from that initiative.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
back away(from someone or something) and back off (from someone or something)
1. Lit. to move backwards from a person or thing; to withdraw physically from someone or something. You should back away from the fire. Please back off from the man who is threatening you.
2. Fig. to begin to appear uninterested in someone or something; to withdraw one's interest from someone or something. The board of directors began to back away from the idea of taking over the rival company. Tom backed off from the whole idea of investing in stocks.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
1. Walk backward, as in He cautiously backed away from the fire.
2. Gradually retreat, withdraw, as in Since he couldn't convince his colleagues, he's backing away from his original idea. Both usages employ the verb back in the sense of "retreat," dating from the late 1400s. Also see back down; back out.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
1. To move backward away from something or someone; retreat: The dog backed away from the hissing cat. I told the kids to keep their distance from the burning fire, but they wouldn't back away.
2. To move something backward away from something or someone; retreat: I backed the car away from the oncoming traffic.
3. To withdraw one's interest or support from something or someone: The candidate backed away from his previous controversial views.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.