1. to move backwards or retreat (physically or figuratively)
back away from a danger/threat, why don't you just back off?
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."