go back

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go back

1. To return to some place or thing. I can't believe you're going back to school after all these years.
2. To retreat, thus undoing one's prior forward progress. No, we never reached our destination—we had to go back because the storm was so bad.
3. To revert to a particular state or role. I don't want to go back to getting coffee for people—I want an actual job as a screenwriter.
4. To stretch back or extend to a particular point or thing. How far back in our lineage does this illness go? I can't see how far back this closet goes, but it seems pretty small.
5. To have known someone for a particular period of time. Those two go back 50 years—they've known each other since elementary school.
6. To have existed for a particular period of time. This product is not new—it goes back to the 1800s.
See also: back, go
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

go back

to return to the place of origin. That's where I came from, and I'll never go back. I don't want to go back.
See also: back, go
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

go back

1. Return, retrace one's steps; also, return to a former condition. For example, I'm going back to the haunts of my youth, or We want to go back to the old way of doing things. [First half of 1500s]
2. Extend backward in space or time, as in Our land goes back to the stone wall, or The family name goes back to Norman times. [Second half of 1600s] Also see go back on.
See also: back, go
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.

go back

v.
1. To return or revert to something: I'd never go back to that restaurant after the awful meal we had. After lunch, I went back home and slept. The children go back to school in the fall. That book needs to go back to the library.
2. To reverse direction: We were going to drive across the bridge, but it was so windy, we decided to go back.
3. go back to To resume some activity: After looking around, the deer went back to eating. I turned off my alarm and went back to sleep.
4. go back to To return one's attention to something; refer to something: Let's go back to an interesting comment you made earlier. If we go back to her earlier books, you can see how her style has changed.
5. To consider or refer to some past time, especially in a narrative: In chapter four, the book goes back to the main character's childhood.
6. To have existed since some time; date back: This house goes back to the 1800s. That idea goes back to Thomas Aquinas.
7. To have been acquainted for some period of time: We're old friends—we go back at least 20 years. He and I go way back—we used to play together as children.
8. go back on To fail to carry out some promise or commitment: I hope you don't go back on your promise to help me out.
9. go back on To claim that something said earlier is untrue; retract or take back something: The witness went back on his story when the lawyer questioned him. The researcher said she would not go back on her original claim.
See also: back, go
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.
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