Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Encyclopedia.
back out (of something)
1. To withdraw from or renege on something, such as a given commitment, promise, plan, or situation. She was considered a strong contender to win the local election, but she backed out at the last minute and continued working as CEO of her company. John was so nervous that he decided to back out of the marriage on the morning of his wedding.
2. To move out (of something or some place) in reverse. Go slowly as you back out of the driveway. I backed out of the room when I realized Mom and Dad were in the middle of an argument. We'll both lift one side of the table to get it out of the kitchen. You back out, and I'll direct you as I walk forward.
3. To cause, guide, or direct someone or something to move out (of something or some place) in reverse. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is used between "back" and "out." Would you mind backing the car out of this parking spot for me? The police officer backed us out of the office before we could ask the senator any questions. Please be careful when you're backing the boat out of the trailer! I just had it painted, and I don't want to get any scratches on it.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
back someone or something out (from something)
to back someone or something out of something. Judy backed out the car from the parking place. She backed it out from its space.
back out(of something)
1. Lit. [for someone or something] to move out of something backwards. The rabbit tried to back out of its burrow. The rabbit backed out.
2. Fig. [for someone] to withdraw from something, such as an agreement, negotiations, an argument, etc. Are you going to try to back out of our agreement? You won't back out, will you?
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
1. Move or retreat backwards without turning; same as back away, def. 1.
2. Also, back out of something. Withdraw from a situation, or break an agreement or engagement. For example, After the announcement appeared in the papers, Mary found it doubly difficult to back out of her engagement to Todd . [Early 1800s] Also see go back on.
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 out of some region: The bear backed out of the cave.
2. To move or drive something backward out of some region: The sergeant backed the tank out of the trench. We picked up the heavy sofa and slowly backed it out of the living room and onto the porch.
3. To decide not to keep a commitment or promise: They backed out of the deal at the last minute. We had a plan to finish the work together, but they backed out.
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.