aback Definitions


backward against the mast; said of the sails when pressed by the wind from the "wrong" (forward) side, or of a ship when its sails are set that way.


an abacus.

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  • although my neurologist is a well-respected clinician, he is not part of this new generation of movers and shakers in current medicine. chronologically, he is a step behind. when i ask him about the possibility of being part of a stem cell study, i am always taken aback by his skepticism. everydayhealth.com

  • first of all, you have to cut your way through the skin, and then, depending on where you cut, you have to cut through either muscle or connective tissue to get to the periosteum, and then the cranial bone. this is where your saw comes in handy. my anatomy students are always a bit taken aback by how hard it is! luckily, brain surgeons today have miniature radial saws. after cutting through the bone, things get interesting. if you expect to see the hills and valleys (gyri and sulci) right away, think again. factmonster.com

  • the researcher has just been to see the department chair, expecting praise and a signature on his/her grant proposal. instead, s/he has been admonished for not putting himself/herself on the grant for 50% and otherwise padding the budget. s/he is so taken aback that he simply thanks his/her chair and leaves hurriedly. s/he thinks for a few minutes, and then phones his/her trusted colleague to see if they might brainstorm about how best to negotiate with the department chair. hhs.gov

  • 51, vice president, announced his candidacy for president in june. while his pronouncement was not much of a surprise, many were taken aback by gore's repeated attacks on president clinton's character, apparently attempts to distance himself from the scandalous president. he also tried to perk up his lackluster speaking style, though only the volume of his voice was affected. infoplease.com

  • "many times when i sit down, patients say 'oh my god, is something wrong?' because i actually bothered to take a seat," feldman said. "people should expect their physicians to sit down with them, to introduce themselves. they shouldn't be taken aback when they actually do. it's part of being a doctor." medicinenet.com

  • mann was taken aback by the error, particularly because doctors had to go through a rigorous process to verify their identities before they were allowed to see the payments attributed to them. "it's unbelievable that they would lump together docs from different states with different npis," he said by email, referring to the unique identifiers for each doctor. medpagetoday.com

  • at a recent dinner, our dean of admissions at the medical school spoke about how being an african american student, she often faced assumptions that she was accepted “only because of affirmative action.” she found herself often taken aback both by assumptions said and unsaid. her response to those prejudices was, as she said to […] merckmanuals.com