An order well understood to mean, fill the main-topsail, after it has been aback, or the ship hove-to.
When he tried to come nearer her she laughed and thrust him aback.
A word used in veering for aback, alluding to the situation of the head-yards in paying off.
The midshipman went to sleep, and when he awoke he found the ship all aback.
This discovery knocked us all aback, and we were quite at a loss how to proceed.
“Throw it all aback,” he cut in as at last he caught my idea.
And there she saw a thing that struck her so aback with amazement, that every timid sense was mute.
Loose and set the topsail and topgallant-sail, and throw them aback!
His reply took me aback, until his sinister face broadened into a smile.
Well, when you consider that, can you wonder I was set all aback?
aback O.E. on bæc, "at or on the back." Now surviving mainly in taken aback, originally a nautical expression for a sudden change of wind that flattens the square sails back against the masts and stops the forward motion of a ship (1754). The figurative sense is first recorded 1840.