force back(redirected from forced them back)
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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.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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.
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.