back down(redirected from backs down)
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To retreat from a particular idea or course of action, often in a conflict. I refuse to back down—this law must be passed, in the interest of public safety. The bully backed down after all of my friends came with me to confront him.
1. noun Go away! Stop bothering me! Back off! I told you I'm not going to the dance, and that's it! You need to back off, buddy. I've told you I'm not interested.
2. verb To retreat on a particular idea or course of action. Your aggressive approach is starting to annoy people—you need to back off a bit. Management seems to be backing off that initiative, at least for now.
3. verb To cause someone to retreat on a particular idea or course of action. In this usage, a noun is used between "back" and "off." Can you please back your minions off? They're harassing me.
4. verb To move backward away from something. Back off that other runner so you don't collide with her.
5. verb To move backward past the edge of something. If he's not careful, he's going to back off that narrow step.
back down (something)
to go down something backwards, such as a ladder or inclined driveway. Harry backed down the ladder safely. Looking behind him, he backed down slowly.
(from someone or something) to yield to a person or a thing; to fail to carry through on a threat. Jane backed down from her position on the budget. It's probably better to back down from this situation; looks like you are at a disadvantage.
(on something) to lessen or drop an earlier rigid position on something; to yield something in an argument. She backed down on her demands. In the end, she backed down.
back someone or something off (from something)
to guide or move someone or something a short distance from something. I backed the car off from the curb a tiny bit. Using signals, I backed the car off from the crushed bicycle.
(from someone or something) Go to back away (from someone or something).
1. Reverse one's upward course, descend. For example, When she saw the wasps' nest on the roof, she hastily backed down the ladder. This literal usage usually refers to something one has climbed, such as a ladder or mountain. [Mid-1800s]
2. Also, back off. Retreat or yield. For example, As the watchdog began to snarl the letter carrier backed off, or You have a good point; now don't back down when you present it to the board. [First half of 1900s] Also see back away, def. 2.
1. See back down, def. 2.
2. Relent, abandon one's stand. For example, The chairman wanted to sell one division but later backed off. [Mid-1900s]
1. To move backward through some region, especially in a vehicle: We backed down the driveway.
2. To cause something, especially a vehicle, to move backward through some region or space: I slowly backed the truck down the hill.
3. To withdraw from a position or confrontation, especially due to intimidation: The smaller bear kept growling so loudly that the larger bear backed down and walked away. Even though they appeared to have a very strong argument against me, I wouldn't back down, and I eventually showed them their conclusions were wrong.
1. To move backward so that one is farther away from someone or something: Back off the car ahead of you: you're driving too close to it. The dog growled at me when I approached, so I backed off.
2. To move something backward beyond the edge of something: He accidentally backed the truck off the ledge and broke an axle.
3. To decrease the intensity or amount of something: I think I should back off the desserts for a little while so I can lose some weight.
4. To decide not to continue doing something or supporting an idea: You've made up your mind, so don't back off your idea now! Just before they were about to sign the papers to buy the new house, they got nervous and backed off.
5. To stop intimidating, threatening, or pressuring someone: Even as I left the store, the salesman wouldn't back off me. Whenever anyone bothers me, I just tell them to back off.
6. To cause someone or something to stop intimidating, threatening or pressuring: The angry dogs were barking at the poor kid, so I waved a stick and backed them off.