fall back

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fall back

1. To retreat or withdraw. I fell back when I noticed a gang of teenagers up ahead. Oh please, Grandpa is never one to fall back from his beliefs—you won't change his mind.
2. To recede or move away. The clouds are starting to fall back so that the sun can peek through.
3. To depend on someone or something that one has kept in reserve. In this usage, the phrase is usually "fall back on (someone or something)." With all of these medical bills, I just don't have any more money to fall back on. We can fall back on a few other babysitters if Jane can't make it.
See also: back, fall

fall back

to move back from something; to retreat from something. The gang members fell back, and I took that opportunity to get away. The troops fell back to regroup.
See also: back, fall

fall back

1. Give ground, retreat, as in The troops fell back before the relentless enemy assault, or He stuck to his argument, refusing to fall back. [c. 1600]
2. Recede, as in The waves fell back from the shore. [c. 1800]
See also: back, fall

fall back

v.
1. To give ground; retreat: After an unsuccessful attempt to retake the city, the soldiers fell back.
2. To recede: The waves fell back, leaving frothy white bubbles on the sand.
3. fall back on To use something as a substitute or backup: If we run out of cash, we will have to fall back on the money in our savings account.
4. fall back on To rely on someone or something for support: At least I can fall back on my friends in times of need.
See also: back, fall

fall back

on/upon
1. To rely on: fall back on old friends in time of need.
2. To resort to: I had to fall back on my savings when I was unemployed.
See also: back, fall
References in periodicals archive ?
Alistair Young, defending, said that Holland had fallen back into his bad ways as a result of his sister committing suicide in 1999.
Melosh proposes that material from the impact body and the impact site should have flown up past Earth's atmosphere and then fallen back down in tiny pieces that moved much faster than scientists had estimated.