a (bit) taken aback (by)

Meaning(s)

1. be startled or astonished by somebody or something

Popularity

High

Professional

High

Social

Check Icon How to Memorize

I was a bit taken aback by what he/she said

Check Icon Analysis

 'Aback' means in a backwards direction, so to be 'taken aback' implies that you were so surprised or shocked by somebody or something that you jumped back. It is usually used figuratively, and in relation to something somebody has said or done, or a sudden turn of events that catches you off guard and leaves you uncertain of how to respond for a short time. It can be used informally in both a social and professional context, and shares a similar meaning to the phrases 'lost for words,' and 'taken by surprise.' 

Check Icon Social Examples (Basic)

  1. I was a bit taken aback by what Sandra said. I really didn't think she could be so rude and unthinking.
  2. I was completely taken aback by the politicians' comments. I didn't realise he was so sexist.

Check Icon Professional Examples (Basic)

  1. Chris was a little taken aback by how blunt Ruth was in her job interview, but at the same time he liked employees who weren't afraid of telling it like it is.
  2. I must admit that I was taken aback when I heard we wouldn't be receiving our bonuses this year, but I didn't let the news affect my performance in work.

Related Links