1. Back up
Back up someone – to give support to someone.
· We had to back her up till her room as she was very tired.
· If Tim hadn’t backed his friend up, the latter would have gotten into serious trouble.
Back up can be used for something that returned to its previous state. That means to move backwards. For example, “Okay, so the main power is back up, everyone can enjoy the party!”.
If you take a back-up of something, you are taking a copy of it so that you can protect it. For example, back-up of your phone data before you reset the phone, asking someone to stay in office as a ‘back-up’ to handle things in your absence. Your backup is generally someone whom you can rely upon.
2. Back off
To stay out of a situation that can lead to argument or fight.
· Back off from this whole discussion, else you will be in trouble.
· She backed off when she realised how big the issue was.
3. Give back
To return something to someone (generally with interest/additional amount).
· You should give back his stuff and apologize to him for hiding it.
· He tried to make fun of my looks so I gave him back nicely. (figuratively)
· I gave him back his car after re-fuelling.
· After my work was done, I gave the books back to him.
4. Answer back
To answer in a rude manner.
· Never answer back when your parents request you for something.
· Why do you answer him back and get into an argument? Just do as he says!
5. Back down
To give up an argument or fight.
· If you give enough love to kids, they will back down from their tantrums.
· I swear I will never back down in my struggle to bring equality for women.
6. Back out
To quit something
· We backed out of the project because we dint have enough funds.
· She had to back out of the competition as her grandfather was not well.
7. Go back over
To run through or discuss something again.
· We had to go back over the document to completely understand the terms and conditions.
· Let’s go back over to what we have learnt in the class today.
8. Get back
To seek time to respond to something you are not sure of.
· Let me get back to you after consulting my seniors.
It is also used to regain something that was yours.
· I got back my certificates few days ago.
You can also use get back to return to a previous state/place.
· I should get back to work as soon as possible.
9. Keep back
To stay away from something.
· Keep the visitors back. The noise could scare the animals.
· Keep your feet back. The surface is slippery; you might fall.
It can also be used in the context of returning something to its original place.
· Keep the pen back in its place.
10. Set back
A problem, disadvantage or obstacle that slows the growth of someone/something.
· Not getting good writers for our website content is often the major setback we face.
· The set back of working with him is that he is very demanding.
11. Hold back
To stop oneself from saying or doing something.
· I had to hold back my tears even though I knew he was leaving me forever.
· They held her visa back because her signatures did not match.
· Hold your breath while we take you to an adventurous ride to the Jurassic park.
There are many more phrases and meanings with back, but these are the easiest to incorporate in your daily conversations. Pick a few from this list and let us know how you are using them.