force back

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force back

1. To cause someone or something to move away from someone or something else. A noun or pronoun can be used between "force" and "back." I jumped in front of the kids to force them back from the street.
2. To cause someone or something to return to something. A noun or pronoun can be used between "force" and "back." The bell signaling the end of recess forced us back to class.
3. To contain one's emotions. A noun or pronoun can be used between "force" and "back." I found myself forcing back tears during the play because the acting was just so good.
See also: back, force

force back

v.
1. To make someone or something retreat or return: A terrible storm forced the soldiers back to the camp. Hard up for money, the strikers were forced back to work.
2. To prevent the expression of one's own emotions: She forced back her laughter as she listened to the debate. He forced his anger back when he read the editorial.
See also: back, force
References in classic literature ?
The gases of the powder, expanded by heat, forced back the atmospheric strata with tremendous violence, and this artificial hurricane rushed like a water-spout through the air.
She had forced back the tears, in her lonely home; she had gone out to seek consolation and encouragement under the sunny sky--to find comfort for her sore heart in the radiant summer beauty of flowers and grass, in the sweet breathing of the air, in the happy heavenward soaring of the birds.
He mentions the various signs which "contributed to indicate the existence of an emotion as lively as the animal had ever shown us before the spinal operation had been made."* He infers that the physiological condition of the viscera cannot be the cause of the emotion displayed under such circumstances, and concludes: "We are forced back toward the likelihood that the visceral expression of emotion is SECONDARY to the cerebral action occurring with the psychical state....
But even the two best swords in a world of fighters can avail not for ever against overwhelming numbers of fierce and savage brutes that know not what defeat means until cold steel teaches their hearts no longer to beat, and so, step by step, we were forced back. At length we stood against the giant tree that we had chosen for our ascent, and then, as charge after charge hurled its weight upon us, we gave back again and again, until we had been forced half-way around the huge base of the colossal trunk.
It may be that in his rogues the writer gratifies instincts deep-rooted in him, which the manners and customs of a civilised world have forced back to the mysterious recesses of the subconscious.
For the time, at least, a few hundreds out of the host of the invaders had been forced back over the frontier.
The murder that rose again and again in his untaught heart he forced back by thoughts of the sweet, pure face of the girl whose image he had set up in the inner temple of his being, as a gentle, guiding divinity.
And then the imperial troops fell back upon these new defenses, or, rather, they were forced back by the enemy.
Van Helsing forced back the leaden flange, and we all looked in and recoiled.
Then the crowd was upon Buck, and he was driven off; but while a surgeon checked the bleeding, he prowled up and down, growling furiously, attempting to rush in, and being forced back by an array of hostile clubs.
While they were spoiling these heroes of their armour, the Achaeans were flying pell-mell to the trench and the set stakes, and were forced back within their wall.
He forced back the gathering shadows of death, as he forced his clenched right hand to remain clenched, and to cover his wound.
It was evident that a chisel or strong knife had been thrust in, and the lock forced back with it.
From that day forth -when a past which he abhorred was forced back to his memory; when a future which she had never dared to anticipate was placed within her reach -- you will soon perceive, if you have not perceived already, that they both betrayed themse lves, time after time; and that you r innocence of all suspicion, and their children's innocence of all suspicion, alone prevented you from discovering the truth.
His rifle flew from his grasp; he felt clawlike talons of great strength seize him beneath his arms and sweep him off his feet; and then the thing rose swiftly with him, so swiftly that his cap was blown from his head by the rush of air as he was borne rapidly upward into the inky sky and the cry of warning to his companions was forced back into his lungs.