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1 definition found
 for To back down
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  Back \Back\, v. i.
     1. To move or go backward; as, the horse refuses to back.
        [1913 Webster]
     2. (Naut.) To change from one quarter to another by a course
        opposite to that of the sun; -- used of the wind.
        [1913 Webster]
     3. (Sporting) To stand still behind another dog which has
        pointed; -- said of a dog. [Eng.]
        [1913 Webster]
     To back and fill, to manage the sails of a ship so that the
        wind strikes them alternately in front and behind, in
        order to keep the ship in the middle of a river or channel
        while the current or tide carries the vessel against the
        wind. Hence: (Fig.) To take opposite positions
        alternately; to assert and deny. [Colloq.]
     To back out, To back down, to retreat or withdraw from a
        promise, engagement, or contest; to recede. [Colloq.]
        [1913 Webster]
              Cleon at first . . . was willing to go; but, finding
              that he [Nicias] was in earnest, he tried to back
              out.                                  --Jowett
                                                    (Thucyd. )
        [1913 Webster]

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