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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
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.
See also:
References in classic literature ?
{77} with the Lotus-eaters without thinking further of their return; nevertheless, though they wept bitterly I forced them back to the ships and made them fast under the benches.
We've forced them back on tax credits, forced them back on police cuts, forced them back on personal independence payments for those with disabilities.
Activists managed to raise Palestinian flags before troops forced them back. Nearby, in the village Bil'in, a group of Italian supporters joined the villages and marched up to the land the army gave back to the people.
* In Saudi Arabia this past March, fifteen girls died when religious zealots forced them back into a blazing school building because they weren't wearing Islamic headscarves and black robes.
The men smashed the window of a car the man and woman were sat in and forced them back inside the club to open the safe.
Elsewhere, in the village of al-Walajeh, protestors reached a section of the wall currently under construction and managed to dismantle part of it before soldiers forced them back with sound bombs.