Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Encyclopedia.
To return to some thing or place after moving away from it, especially by following the same path taken when leaving. I was walking to my car when I realized I'd forgotten my lunch on the kitchen counter and doubled back to get it.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
double back (on someone or something)
[for a person or animal] to reverse motion, moving toward (rather than away from) someone or something. (Refers primarily to a person or animal that is being pursued by someone or a group.) The deer doubled back on the hunter. The robber doubled back on the police, and they lost track of him. I doubled back on my own trail.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Reverse one's course, go back the way one has come. For example, The officer lost the suspect, who had doubled back on him. This term, at first put simply as to double, is used largely to describe a way of evading pursuit. [Late 1500s]
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 turn around and move back in the opposite direction: Since we got lost, we'll need to double back and start over.
2. To turn sharply or reverse course completely, as of a path: The road doubles back, following the course of the river. The trail up the mountain doubles back on itself several times.
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.