Expressions used in Everyday Spoken English in Social and Professional contexts

back (away/off)

back awayback off
Meaning(s)
1) to move backwards or retreat (physically or figuratively)
  • How to MemorizePopularity MediumProfessional MediumSocial
    • back away from a danger/threat, why don't you just back off?
  • Analysis
     To 'back away' from something is to move away from it or to put distance between you and it (metaphorically or literally). Usually, you back away from something because you are afraid or scared or there is danger involved. There may be an organisation, plan or actions that you do not agree with and you may wish to 'back away' from being associated with it. "Back away, I have a gun." "The heat of the flames caused the neighbours to back away from the burning car." "I intend to back away from the future activities of the organisation considering my moral standpoint on this matter." To 'back off' means to move away from aggression or confrontation or to drop a claim or accusation. "He got so upset about the criticism that I had to back off and reassure him he could do a good job." "She backed off on her claim for half the house when the judge took a look at her accounts."
  • Social Examples (Basic)
    1. The gardener quickly backed away after she disturbed the beehive.
    2. The policeman told the protesters to back away as they approached the cordoned-off building.
    3. Back off from the project until further notice. It needs some tweaking.
    4. I told her to back off when I needed space. I just wanted to be left alone.
    5. I made sure to back off from the dog when it bared its teeth.
    6. The police officers made everyone back off from the crime scene.
    7. I've had enough of you shouting at me! Why don't you just back off?
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