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Aback   Listen
adverb
Aback  adv.  
1.
Toward the back or rear; backward. "Therewith aback she started."
2.
Behind; in the rear.
3.
(Naut.) Backward against the mast; said of the sails when pressed by the wind.
To be taken aback.
(a)
To be driven backward against the mast; said of the sails, also of the ship when the sails are thus driven.
(b)
To be suddenly checked, baffled, or discomfited.






Collaborative International Dictionary of English 0.48








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"Aback" Quotes from Famous Books



... Clemenceau appeared at the Conference door, and seemed taken aback by the large number of unfamiliar faces and figures behind Mr. Balfour, toward whom he sharply turned with the brusque interrogation: "Who are those people behind you? Are they English?" "Yes, they are," was the answer. "Well, what do they want here?" "They have come on the same errand ...
— The Inside Story Of The Peace Conference • Emile Joseph Dillon

... custom Janetta offered no word of excuse or apology. She was too much taken aback to speak. She stood and looked at her stepmother with slightly dilated eyes, ...
— A True Friend - A Novel • Adeline Sergeant

... the bedside of Long John Wise at Run-by-Guess—and from many a bedside and wretched hearth by the way—the doctor and I strapped our packs aback and heartily set out from the Hudson's Bay Company's post at Bread-and-Water Bay in the dawn of the day before Christmas: being then three weeks gone from our harbour, and, thinking to reach it next day. We were to chance hospitality for the night; and this must be (they told us) at ...
— Doctor Luke of the Labrador • Norman Duncan

... remained overcast. The two schooners, under all sail and joined by a third, could be seen making back. A veer in the wind induced them to slack off sheets, and five minutes afterward a sudden veer from the opposite quarter caught all three schooners aback, and those on shore could see the boom-tackles being slacked away or cast off on the jump. The sound of the surf was loud, hollow, and menacing, and a heavy swell was setting in. A terrible sheet of lightning burst ...
— South Sea Tales • Jack London

... after having screwed up her spirit to the point of facing Fownes in his fortress, the stable, Miss Meredith's courage deserted her on almost stumbling over him a hundred yards nearer than she expected. So taken aback was she that all the glib explanation she had planned was forgotten, and she held out the miniature to him ...
— Janice Meredith • Paul Leicester Ford

... greater part of the day along the banks of the Tarn. One evening I met him by the river, and he stopped me to quote a passage from the Georgics which he had recalled to mind. His face beamed with satisfaction. I knew that he had not been brought up to cow-tending, but was, nevertheless, taken aback when the unfortunate old bachelor wished me to share the pleasure he felt in having brought to mind a long-forgotten passage of Virgil. The surprises of real life never cease to be startling. Speaking to me afterwards of the growing ...
— Wanderings by southern waters, eastern Aquitaine • Edward Harrison Barker

... rather taken aback at seeing you with him," said John. "Not that it can make any difference to you," he added quickly, "only you seemed so angry at ...
— An American Politician • F. Marion Crawford

... a person just by hearing what he's like." Then there was no denying that the conduct of the Hermit would excite suspicion. He was camping alone in the deepest recesses of a lonely tract of scrub; he had been there some weeks, and she had had plenty of proof that he was taken aback at being discovered and wished earnestly that no future prowlers might find their way to his retreat. She recalled his shrinking from the boys, and his hasty refusal to go to the homestead. He had said in so many words that he desired nothing so much ...
— A Little Bush Maid • Mary Grant Bruce

... taken aback for a moment. Then he cried out heartily: "Damme, the rogues took five guineas from you too. Here, fill your purse, child." He shot ...
— The Highwayman • H.C. Bailey

... what they wanted. After the secretary had been through the line, he went in, and then came back to the door and motioned for me. I went up to that anteroom, and the secretary said: "That is the President's door right over there. Just rap on it and go right in." I never was so taken aback, friends, in all my life, never. The secretary himself made it worse for me, because he had told me how to go in and then went out another door to the left and shut that. There I was, in the hallway by myself before the ...
— Acres of Diamonds • Russell H. Conwell

... Vizard was taken aback by the suddenness of this return to a topic he was simple enough to think she had abandoned. However, he said, "She is safe enough. I have taken care of that, ...
— The Woman-Hater • Charles Reade

... aback and showed it plainly. His wife had come to a back doorway and was looking at the ...
— Randy of the River - The Adventures of a Young Deckhand • Horatio Alger Jr.

... Peruvian rivermen. In fact, their owners had been at some pains to keep them as clean as possible, folding them each morning with military precision and stowing them carefully. Wherefore they were somewhat taken aback when informed that nice white nets were decidedly not the thing in this part ...
— The Pathless Trail • Arthur O. (Arthur Olney) Friel

... aback at this rejoinder; then with a prodigiously sorrowful look he exclaimed in a hushed voice, "Oui, ...
— Lige on the Line of March - An American Girl's Experiences When the Germans Came Through Belgium • Glenna Lindsley Bigelow

... low fizz and its fumes took them aback, allowing me to shoot away over the bridge and down into Bristol, much wiser ...
— The Golden Face - A Great 'Crook' Romance • William Le Queux

... something to think about. She had been quite taken aback by Marjory's apology, and for a little while the real Mary Ann had shown herself. She was not a bad-hearted girl in reality, but she had been spoiled by those who should have known better; and although every now and then, at moments such ...
— Hunter's Marjory - A Story for Girls • Margaret Bruce Clarke

... about it. We were both taken aback, and after the first shock we realized that to acknowledge a previous meeting was not to either of our advantages. You were ashamed; and I—well, you ...
— The Native Born - or, The Rajah's People • I. A. R. Wylie

... gave such a jar to the ill-set vehicle, that one of the boards danced out that composed the bottom, and a sack of flour and bag of salted pork, which was on its way to a settler's, whose clearing we had to pass in the way, were ejected. A good teamster is seldom taken aback by such ...
— The Backwoods of Canada • Catharine Parr Traill

... across the space between them—No-Man's Land, they called it then—it was only thirty-five yards—to the German trench. So fast they rushed, and so unexpected was their coming, with no curtain of artillery to shield them, that the Germans were for a moment taken aback. Not a shot was fired for a space of time almost long enough to let the Americans reach the trench, and then the rifles broke out and the brown uniforms fell like leaves in autumn. But not all. They rushed on pell-mell, cutting wire, pouring irresistibly into the German trench. ...
— Joy in the Morning • Mary Raymond Shipman Andrews

... behind us. But let us revert to the merry meeting previously alluded to. It is half-past two in the afternoon, we are gaily going through the figures of a country-dance, 'Speed the plough' perhaps, when the music stops short, everyone is taken aback, and wonders at the cause of interruption. The arrival of two prelates, Bishop Plessis and Bishop Mountain, gave us the solution of the enigma; an aide-de-camp had motioned to the bandmaster to stop on noticing the entrance of the two high dignitaries ...
— Picturesque Quebec • James MacPherson Le Moine

... taken aback by the sudden surrender. Mr. Ferrars waited, and her husband said, 'She ought to see her brother. She needs the change, and there is no sufficient cause to ...
— The Young Step-Mother • Charlotte M. Yonge

... them whole for this meal, and they had filled three huge bowls with ale from his great brewing-kettle. Hymer ate and drank very fast, and wished to make his guests fear him, because he could eat so much. But Thor was not to be taken aback in this way; for he at once ate two of the oxen, and quaffed a huge bowl of ale which the giant had set aside for himself. The giant saw that he was outdone, and he arose from the ...
— The Story of Siegfried • James Baldwin

... and ne'er takes wing, But with a silent charm compels the stern 30 And tort'ring Genius of the bitter spring, To shrink aback, and ...
— The Complete Poetical Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge - Vol I and II • Samuel Taylor Coleridge

... was taken aback; for, without having received any definite intelligence from the long absent relative, he had somehow persuaded himself that Uncle Jacob had accumulated a fortune at ...
— Five Hundred Dollars - or, Jacob Marlowe's Secret • Horatio Alger

... men more taken aback. They stopped dead where they were, when they saw me; and Bauldy, who had one hand in the air, having been laying down the law, as was usual with him, kept it there stiff as if he had been frozen where ...
— Bog-Myrtle and Peat - Tales Chiefly Of Galloway Gathered From The Years 1889 To 1895 • S.R. Crockett

... devil was he? What was he, Morrison, doing there, talking like this? Morrison knew no more of Heyst than the rest of us trading in the Archipelago did. Had the Swede suddenly risen and hit him on the nose, he could not have been taken more aback than when this stranger, this nondescript wanderer, said with a ...
— Victory • Joseph Conrad

... pard'n, sir, an' makin' so free as to mention et," began Peter at length, pulling off his hat and twirling the brim between his fingers, "but us was a bit taken aback, not understandin' as fash'nubbleness was to begin so smart; or us wou'dn't have introoded—spesh'ly Tamsin. Tamsin was thinkin' this mornin' as a pound of fresh butter might be acceptable to the gentl'm'n down at Kit's House, ...
— The Astonishing History of Troy Town • Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

... not swear that black is white, But I suspect in fact that white is black, And the whole matter rests upon eye-sight:— Ask a blind man, the best judge. You'll attack Perhaps this new position—but I'm right; Or if I'm wrong, I'll not be ta'en aback:— He hath no morn nor night, but all is dark Within—and what seest thou? ...
— The Works of Lord Byron, Volume 6 • Lord Byron

... aback by the Master's having discovered my last—yes, and bona-fide my last—translation in the volume I sent to your Library. I thought it would slip in unobserved, and I should have given all my little contributions to my old College, without after-reckoning. Had I known you as the Wife ...
— Letters of Edward FitzGerald in Two Volumes - Vol. II • Edward FitzGerald

... shaking and thundering, while the sheets lashed to and fro across the deck. Then somewhere those sheets jammed and held fast, and as if the canvas had been flattened in of set purpose, she luffed, until with a great clap of the sail against the mast, the whole of her upper canvas was aback, and she was hove to helplessly. Maybe she was a furlong from us at ...
— A Sea Queen's Sailing • Charles Whistler

... was the night as pitch or as the coal, And at the window she put out her hole, And Absolon him fell ne bet ne werse, But with his mouth he kiss'd her naked erse Full savourly. When he was ware of this, Aback he start, and thought it was amiss; For well he wist a woman hath no beard. He felt a thing all rough, and long y-hair'd, And saide; "Fy, alas! what have I do?" "Te he!" quoth she, and clapt the window to; ...
— The Canterbury Tales and Other Poems • Geoffrey Chaucer

... aback, argued on Barron's behalf. Would it have been seemly or right for a man—a Churchman of Barron's prominence—to keep such a thing to himself at such a critical moment? Surely it had an important bearing ...
— The Case of Richard Meynell • Mrs. Humphry Ward

... Gregory was slightly taken aback. He couldn't have defined Miss Woodruff's manner as assured, yet it was singularly competent; and no one could have been in less ...
— Tante • Anne Douglas Sedgwick

... was taken aback. Then with the blood mounting in his face, he took a step forwards and shook ...
— The Summons • A.E.W. Mason

... aback by this unexpected coolness that the flowers lay unnoticed as she looked up with a face so full of surprise, reproach, and something like shame that it was impossible to mistake its meaning. Charlie did not, and had the grace to redden ...
— Rose in Bloom - A Sequel to "Eight Cousins" • Louisa May Alcott

... had taken M. de Bois aback, chiefly because he was confounded by a new proof of his own awkwardness (stupidity, he plainly termed it) in leaving his handkerchief behind him, as a witness of his presence at the chalet. But there was no such confusing testimony to destroy his composure ...
— Fairy Fingers - A Novel • Anna Cora Mowatt Ritchie

... taken aback that, when he had thanked her in a mechanical way, he could say nothing else. She seemed to fall for a little while into a sad meditation that embarrassed him beyond measure. But as he opened his mouth to ...
— Old Creole Days • George Washington Cable

... remained with the general of the army. I went up to the Secretary of War, showed him the telegraphic correspondence, and pointed out the existing law in the Revised Statutes. General Belknap was visibly taken aback, and explained that he had supposed the right of appointment rested with him, that Ward was an old rebel Democrat, etc.; whereas Ward had been in fact the sutler of Fort Laramie, a United States military post, throughout the civil war. I told him that I should revoke ...
— Memoirs of Three Civil War Generals, Complete • U. S. Grant, W. T. Sherman, P. H. Sheridan

... noise was the great point. That was the thing that took Martin and Barney quite aback, although it was by no means new to them; but they could not get used to it. And no wonder! Ten thousand paroquets shrieking passionately, like a hundred knife-grinders at work, is no joke; especially when their melodies are mingled with ...
— Martin Rattler • R.M. Ballantyne

... woman and he had suddenly found her openly singling out before his eyes another man equally unknown to her—it would be hard, I say, to find such a young man (living, of course, in the great world and accustomed to indulge his self-love) who would not have been unpleasantly taken aback in such a case. ...
— A Hero of Our Time • M. Y. Lermontov

... rampart of dead? White went his hair on the wind like the ragged drift of the cloud, And his dust-driven, blood-beaten harness was the death-storm's angry shroud, When the summer sun is departing in the first of the night of wrack; And his sword was the cleaving lightning, that smites and is hurried aback Ere the hand may rise against it; and his voice ...
— The Story of Sigurd the Volsung and the Fall of the Niblungs • William Morris

... and the contest was about equal. My resistance was entirely unexpected, and Covey was taken all aback by it, for he trembled in every limb. "Are you going to resist, you scoundrel?" said he. To which, I returned a polite "Yes sir;" steadily gazing my interrogator in the eye, to meet the first ...
— My Bondage and My Freedom • Frederick Douglass

... suddenly sprang up when this insult fell on his ear. Bill of 1886 not a tempting topic; led to downfall of his Ministry; but to hear it publicly called a "buffer," more than he could stand—or, rather, sit. Leaped to feet, and, with thrilling energy, repudiated gross imputation. Prince ARTHUR taken aback; hadn't meant anything particular. To call a thing or a person a buffer not necessarily a term of opprobrium. Everything depends on inflection of tone. Suppose, now, leaning across the table, he had addressed Mr. G. as "old buffer," that would ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 98, 1890.05.10 • Various

... and, stupefied, recognised a pair of old boots which he had, some time back, thrown into a corner of his attic. He was so taken aback that he ...
— The Mystery of the Yellow Room • Gaston Leroux

... not pretend to be a judge of these matters, but really I believe Salina was a little taken aback, when she came forth into the porch, with her dress nicely tucked up, and her shawl folded in a fashion that left one arm at liberty, and saw uncle Nathan sitting there in the dark, instead of standing by the cheese-press, hat in hand, determined to escort her as a man of spirit ought to have ...
— The Old Homestead • Ann S. Stephens

... question took me aback: and, indeed, the whole conduct of the man was so strange that I was heartily frightened, and longed greatly to run away. There was no help for it, however, so I ...
— Dead Man's Rock • Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

... MISS GILPIN (taken aback by his violence for a moment, finally bursts into a laugh of helplessness which is close to tears). I? I know nothing—absolutely ...
— The Straw • Eugene O'Neill

... so much taken aback by the charge, that the unexplained mystery of the Long Vacation went out of his head. He said he was "very sorry," and "obliged;" and tried to recollect what he could have said to give ground to Mr. Vincent's remark. Not ...
— Loss and Gain - The Story of a Convert • John Henry Newman

... myself, "Here's a chance to hear this Walkover opera. So now or never." I went in, and, planking my dollar down, I said, "Give me the best seat you have." "Other box-office, on 40th Street, please, for gallery." I was taken aback. "What!" I exclaimed, "do you ask a whole dollar for a gallery seat? How much, pray, for one down-stairs?" The young man looked at me curiously, but politely replied, "Five dollars, and they are all sold out." I went outside and took off my hat to cool my head. Five good dollars—a ...
— Old Fogy - His Musical Opinions and Grotesques • James Huneker

... party of six are seated in a carriage, the chances are that one given person will be next to or opposite to any other given person. Madame Max had remembered this, and had prepared herself, but Phineas was taken aback when he found how close was his neighbourhood to the lady. "Get in, Phineas," said his lordship. Gerard Maule had already seated himself next to Miss Palliser, and Phineas had no alternative but to take the place ...
— Phineas Redux • Anthony Trollope

... slight consequence. To a girl of your daughter's age they are poisonous. If you, her father, know the whole truth, you can regulate your actions so as to defeat the scandalmongers. That is why I am here to-day. That is why I came here yesterday, but your attitude took me aback, and I was idiot enough to go without a word of explanation. I was too shaken then to see my clear course, and follow it regardless of personal feelings. This morning I am master of myself, and I insist that you listen now while I tell ...
— The Postmaster's Daughter • Louis Tracy

... replied Spurge. "I know a man just aback of here that'll run up to the town with a message—chap that can be trusted, sure and faithful. 'Bide here five minutes, sir—I'll send a message to Mr. Vickers—this chap'll know him and'll find him. He can come down with the rest—and the police, too, if he likes. Keep ...
— Scarhaven Keep • J. S. Fletcher

... later, I heard a great noise of hauling on deck, followed by the threshing of our sails, as though they had suddenly come aback. I knew enough of the sea to know that if we were tacking there would be other orders, while, if the helmsman had let the ship come aback by accident I should have heard the officers rating him. I heard neither nor orders; something else was happening. A glance out of the stern windows ...
— Martin Hyde, The Duke's Messenger • John Masefield

... guests for the week-end, but Marcia Van Wyck, with an air of hospitality that quite took me aback, welcomed me warmly, confessed herself much honored by this mark of my attention and took me to see her garden. Oh, she was clever. Spring flowers, youth, grace, the sweetness of the warm, scented paths, her symbolic white frock to set the scene for innocence. But I ...
— Paradise Garden - The Satirical Narrative of a Great Experiment • George Gibbs

... the Peacocks was taken aback by this bold speech, and had half a mind to send them all away together; but his Prime Minister declared that it would never do to let such a trick as that pass unpunished, everybody would laugh at him; so the accusation was drawn up against them, that they were impostors, and ...
— The Red Fairy Book • Various

... (Gammon) was the only member of the firm that had a real disinterested regard for him, and so acquire a valuable control over him! Thus occupied, the observation of Quirk had completely taken Gammon aback; and he lost his presence of mind, of course in such case his temper quickly following. "Will you favor me, Mr. Quirk, with an explanation of your extraordinarily absurd and offensive observation?" said he, reddening more and more as ...
— Ten Thousand a-Year. Volume 1. • Samuel Warren

... of Alderman Crood, he remembered Alderman Crood's niece; her request to him; his promise to her. He had been puzzled, not a little taken aback by the girl's eager, anxious manner. She had been quiet and demure enough as she sat by Simon Crood's fire, sewing, in silence, a veritable modest mouse, timid and bashful; but in that big, gloomy hall her attitude had changed altogether—she had been almost compelling in her eagerness. And Brent ...
— In the Mayor's Parlour • J. S. (Joseph Smith) Fletcher

... was taken aback. His face and lips worked, but he could say nothing. Duncan coolly pulled at his cigar and glanced aft at the rising cloud ...
— The Night-Born • Jack London

... angry to find your fingers soiled." [6] "Well and good, my lad, well and good," said the king, "only feast away yourself and make good cheer, and we shall send you back to Persia a fine strong fellow." And with the word he had dishes of meat and game set before his grandson. The boy was taken aback by their profusion, and exclaimed, "Grandfather, do you give me all this for myself, to do what I like with it?" "Certainly I do," said the king. [7] Whereupon, without more ado, the boy Cyrus took first one dish and then another and ...
— Cyropaedia - The Education Of Cyrus • Xenophon

... at him an instant in amazement, evidently taken completely aback. Then a light of cunning comprehension flashed into ...
— The Puritans • Arlo Bates

... quarrels and flagrant impertinences, he left his office, sped across the channel, rode post haste across England, flung himself, all mud-bespattered into the presence of his mistress in her chamber, and prayed for pardon. For the moment, she was too utterly taken aback to be herself; he left her thinking he had won. But the outrage was too gross. That evening he found himself under arrest. His enemies' policy of "giving him rope enough" had been more completely successful than they could have hoped. He had set the noose about his ...
— England Under the Tudors • Arthur D. Innes

... fine fellow! With rings and a chain—a rich man! You are a dear boy," and Raskolnikoff gave a short, nervous laugh, right in the face of Zametoff. The latter was very much taken aback, and, if not offended, seemed a ...
— The Most Interesting Stories of All Nations • Julian Hawthorne

... dead? And that was Hargus, that wretched, broken—whew! I don't want to think of it, Sam!" And Jadwin, taken all aback, sat for a ...
— The Pit • Frank Norris

... to block the road up," the driver said, quite taken aback, his color mounting to his cheeks. ...
— The Desired Woman • Will N. Harben

... you here," said Mrs. Bilkins, somewhat taken aback. "His wife!" she thought; "it's a mother the poor ...
— A Rivermouth Romance • Thomas Bailey Aldrich

... Roy, taken aback, nearly gave himself away—but not quite. "I gather she acted with Sir Lakshman Singh's approval," ...
— Far to Seek - A Romance of England and India • Maud Diver

... might reasonably expect to find some inn within a league or two. Going along, then, in this way, the night dark, the squire hungry, the master sharp-set, they saw coming towards them on the road they were travelling a great number of lights which looked exactly like stars in motion. Sancho was taken aback at the sight of them, nor did Don Quixote altogether relish them: the one pulled up his ass by the halter, the other his hack by the bridle, and they stood still, watching anxiously to see what all this would turn out to be, and found that the lights were approaching them, ...
— Don Quixote • Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

... to go out he told his foot man to follow him. The footman, who had his instructions, replied that he had no time, and that he was busy carrying out my orders, and he must obey me first. For the moment the child was taken aback. How could he think they would really let him go out alone, him, who, in his own eyes, was the most important person in the world, who thought that everything in heaven and earth was wrapped up in his welfare? However, he was beginning to feel his weakness, he perceived that he should find ...
— Emile • Jean-Jacques Rousseau

... she had lived to see in the management of hospitals— in drainage, in ventilation, in sanitary work of every kind. There was a pause; and then, 'Do you think you are improving?' asked the Aga Khan. She was a little taken aback, and said, 'What do you mean by "improving"?' He replied, 'Believing more in God.' She saw that he had a view of God which was different from hers. 'A most interesting man,' she noted after the interview; 'but you could never teach ...
— Eminent Victorians • Lytton Strachey

... he howled, springing from the rail, and recovering his wits instantly. "Beg pardon, mum, but you took me aback all standin' as the saying is. Christopher, didn't that match ...
— The Stowaway Girl • Louis Tracy

... little taken aback. She had not supposed that her sister had even this small shot ...
— Piccadilly Jim • Pelham Grenville Wodehouse

... moment lost his presence of mind. He did not even think of calling to his picked guard, so completely taken aback was he by this unforeseen move on the part of Sir Percy. Yet, obviously, he should have been ready for this eventuality. Had he not caused the town-crier to loudly proclaim throughout the city that if ONE female prisoner escaped from Fort Gayole the entire able-bodied ...
— The Elusive Pimpernel • Baroness Emmuska Orczy

... black day in our calendar. At seven in the morning we were aroused from sleep by the cry of "All hands, ahoy! A man overboard!" This unwonted cry sent a thrill through the heart of everyone, and hurrying on deck we found the vessel hove flat aback, with all her studding sails set; for the boy who was at the helm left it to throw something overboard, and the carpenter, who was an old sailor, knowing that the wind was light, put the helm down and hove her aback. The watch on deck were ...
— The Worlds Greatest Books - Vol. II: Fiction • Arthur Mee, J. A. Hammerton, Eds.

... arms wide to facilitate the search. Evan, taken aback by his assurance, waited the result anxiously. The patrolman thrust his hand in ...
— The Deaves Affair • Hulbert Footner

... taken aback by this furious assault that at first I could not speak, but Father Dan interposed to defend me, saying with beautiful patience, that his visit had been quite unexpected on my part, and that I had asked him to stay overnight only because he was an old man, and had ...
— The Woman Thou Gavest Me - Being the Story of Mary O'Neill • Hall Caine

... looked like a gun on it. I opened fire at once and put my first two shells at 6,000 yards right into some groups of horsemen; we saw them tumbling about, so after about a dozen shots from my gun off they went like greased lightning, seeming to sink into the earth and evidently quite taken aback to find we had a gun in such a position. In a few minutes not a sign of them was left, and the Commander-in-Chief riding up appeared much pleased and congratulated us on our straight shooting; he seemed ...
— With the Naval Brigade in Natal (1899-1900) - Journal of Active Service • Charles Richard Newdigate Burne

... at length he detected a faint smell of wood smoke. He halted, and told the rest, in a whisper, that they were approaching a settlement. From this point they advanced still more slowly and cautiously. Then, with a suddenness that took them aback, they came to the edge of a clearing. At first Tom was not sure whether it was the same that he had seen before. He had indeed approached it from a different direction. But a glance around satisfied him on this point, and the party stood within the shelter of the trees while Underhill gave his ...
— Round the World in Seven Days • Herbert Strang

... took Stormonth aback, for even he saw there was here a necessity as strong as his own; yet the power of ...
— Wilson's Tales of the Borders and of Scotland, Vol. XXIII. • Various

... yielding nature, I was a little taken aback to find that a new enemy had turned up. The celery had just rubbed through the fiery scorching of the drought, and stood a faint chance to grow; when I noticed on the green leaves a big green-and-black worm, called, I believe, the celery-worm: but I don't know who called him; ...
— Baddeck and That Sort of Thing • Charles Dudley Warner

... almost alongside of her before the people on board seemed to see us. When she did, evidently taken by surprise, she put her helm down, and throwing all her sails aback, snapped some of her lighter spars, thus throwing everything into confusion—confusion made worse by the fact that, with the view of immediate landing, two hundred or three hundred of the niggers had been freed from their confinement and were crowded on the deck. Taking advantage ...
— Sketches From My Life - By The Late Admiral Hobart Pasha • Hobart Pasha

... completely taken aback by this sudden rain of missiles almost from the skies, immediately scattered to the opposite side of the road and took refuge in the gardens there. Not one of them had his rifle to hand, for their arms had been stacked against ...
— Two Daring Young Patriots - or, Outwitting the Huns • W. P. Shervill

... won't be so taken aback as if she wasn't afraid; and if Jem's all right, why, she'll only ...
— Saved at Sea - A Lighthouse Story • Mrs. O.F. Walton

... He was taken aback, and not for the first time, either. She had startled and discomposed him several times in the course of their brief acquaintance; and he always resented it, priding himself in private, as he did, upon his coolness and immobility. He could not think of the right thing to say just now, so he was ...
— A Fair Barbarian • Frances Hodgson Burnett

... "Thou hast thought in thy folly that the Gods have friends and foes, That they wake, and the world wends onward, that they sleep, and the world slips back, That they laugh, and the world's weal waxeth, that they frown and fashion the wrack: Thou hast cast up the curse against me; it shall aback on thine head; Go back to the sons of repentance, with the children of sorrow wed! For the Gods are great unholpen, and their grief is seldom seen, And the wrong that they will and must be is soon as it ...
— The Influence of Old Norse Literature on English Literature • Conrad Hjalmar Nordby

... with their father's idea of courtesy, shook hands with the clerk, who was not at all taken aback by the unexpected honor. ...
— A Gentleman from Mississippi • Thomas A. Wise

... (his tutor) "that I was not going out in mathematics, he was taken aback, and seemed very sorry. He urged me to read law, but still to go out as a high senior optime, which he says I could be, without reading more than a very small quantity of mathematics every day. My objection to this was that I knew myself better than he did; that were I to go in for ...
— The Life of the Rt. Hon. Sir Charles W. Dilke V1 • Stephen Gwynn

... recovered!" And Susan launched into a narration of the events that had taken place while he was in Mexico, to which he listened with the composure of a man who, having had his share of the vagaries of fate, is not to be taken aback by new surprises, however singular or tragic. Susan expected an expression of regret—by look or word—over the loss of the marquis' fortune, but either he simulated indifference or passed the matter ...
— The Strollers • Frederic S. Isham

... was certainly rather taken aback when I heard they were engaged. Cusins is a very nice fellow, certainly: nobody would ever guess that he was ...
— Major Barbara • George Bernard Shaw

... flat the moment the punching was remitted. I did all I could for them, but, having Daniel in tow, dared not sail too near the edge of the Doldrums, lest he should drop into sympathetic stagnation and be taken preternaturally bashful, with his sails all aback, just as I wanted to carry him gallantly into action with some clipper-built cruiser of a nice young lady. Finally, Lu bethought herself of that last plank of drowning conversationists, the photograph album. All the ...
— Humorous Masterpieces from American Literature • Various

... Arkady, with the confidence of a practised chess-player, who has foreseen an apparently dangerous move on the part of his adversary, and so is not at all taken aback by it. ...
— Fathers and Children • Ivan Sergeevich Turgenev

... this piece of information in subdued silence. It took him all aback. He had not taken the trouble to ascertain whether there was force and ability behind his chief's placid, silent exterior, and the lesson he received was salutary and lasting. He watched with a critical eye the management and navigation as the Boadicea was pressed through ...
— The Shellback's Progress - In the Nineteenth Century • Walter Runciman

... took me aback to see his poor haggard face, and the way in which he took the trouble, for it was plain enough to see how he was cut to the heart by Miss Ross's treatment of him. But for all that, he was the officer ...
— Begumbagh - A Tale of the Indian Mutiny • George Manville Fenn

... appeared to be taken aback, and made a vigorous denial. It was therefore pointed out to him that if nothing had changed in the negative attitude of Germany, the terms of the suggested "note to the Press" were excessive, and likely to give French opinion ...
— The Evidence in the Case • James M. Beck

... craft along; "a bloody revenue cutter, as I'm a wicked sinner! There she lies, sir, within musket shot of the shore, hid behind the point, as it might be in waiting for us, with her head to the southward, her helm hard down, topsail aback, and foresail brailed; as wicked looking a thing as Free Trade and Sailor's Rights ever ran from. My life on it, sir, she's been put in that precise spot, in waiting for the Molly to arrive. You see, as we stand ...
— Jack Tier or The Florida Reef • James Fenimore Cooper

... little taken aback by this speech, but was wonderfully firm. She passed her white, jewelled hand over her eyes, seemed calculating, and then whispered, with a confiding look of innocent helplessness, admirably assumed, "About as many as ...
— The International Monthly Magazine, Volume 5, No. 1, January, 1852 • Various

... you look as though you'd been standing double watch for a week of Sundays! I never see the beat! Has that crazy gal coming here set ye all aback this way?" ...
— Sheila of Big Wreck Cove - A Story of Cape Cod • James A. Cooper

... mother," he said. And Lady Kynaston owned afterwards that she never felt so taken aback and so utterly struck dumb with astonishment in ...
— Vera Nevill - Poor Wisdom's Chance • Mrs. H. Lovett Cameron

... was, to use a sailor's term, completely taken aback; indeed he was nearly capsized by the unexpected assault. For a short time he could not discover what it was; at last, by turning his head over his shoulder and putting his hand behind him, he ...
— Percival Keene • Frederick Marryat

... depend upon your keeping my secret when I've told you all about it." He then proceeded to lay the story of Jane's troubles before his deeply interested and sympathising hearers. When he had brought his account to an end, he said, "Now, you can understand why I was so taken aback at seeing my mother's name in this Bible, and why I'm so anxious to know how you came by it. Why, this is the very Bible which was restored, or, at any rate, meant to be restored to Jane by John Hollands three or four months ago. But, then, how did it get here? ...
— True to his Colours - The Life that Wears Best • Theodore P. Wilson

... above all it was his task to see that Congress concentrated on the currency revision and the tariff reform. It is recorded that the President was somewhat taken aback when Miss Paul addressed him during the course of the interview with this query, "But Mr. President, do you not understand that the Administration has no right to legislate for currency, tariff, and any other reform without ...
— Jailed for Freedom • Doris Stevens

... endeavour was to "tack" his course by such currents as he should find, in the manner attempted by his father, and at starting the ground current blew favourably from the W.S.W. He, however, allowed his balloon to rise to too high an altitude, where he must have been taken aback by a contrary drift; for, on descending again through a shower of snow, he found himself no further than Ben Howth, as yet only ten miles on his long journey. Profiting by his mistake, he thenceforward, by skilful ...
— The Dominion of the Air • J. M. Bacon

... aback, but replied, with gentle dignity, "Do you think, Grizel, I would let that make any difference ...
— Tommy and Grizel • J.M. Barrie

... day by day still bears The burden on my back, With weeping eyes and wat'ry tears, To hold my hope aback. ...
— Specimens with Memoirs of the Less-known British Poets, Complete • George Gilfillan

... to hear it till this day. It's quite took me aback. Poor dear gentleman, what an end for him—to go out all that way only to be drowned! I do seem to be told of nothing but deaths and dying this morning, for Binney's just 'eard that poor old Mr. Tapling, at No. 5 opposite, ...
— The Giant's Robe • F. Anstey

... taking off the ring with one hand while holding the puzzle in my pocket. A friend to whom I showed the little feat set about accomplishing it himself, and when I met him some days afterwards he exhibited his proficiency in the art. But he was a little taken aback when I then took the puzzle from him and, while simply holding the medal between the finger and thumb of one hand, by a series of little shakes and jerks caused the ring, without my even touching it, to fall off upon the floor. The following little poser will probably prove ...
— Amusements in Mathematics • Henry Ernest Dudeney

... fired the oven and set the leaven in the meal long before the child was hungry; she looked ahead and the bread was ready. Is not this written also in the teaching of Jesus—"your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things" (Matt. 6:32)? God, he holds, is as little taken aback by his children's needs as Mary was by hers, and the little boys did not did not confine their demands to bread—they wanted eggs and fish as well (Matt. 7:10; Luke 11:11, 12; and cf. John 6:9)—there ...
— The Jesus of History • T. R. Glover

... say that the "Pilgrim's" crew, before quitting her, had brought the ship's sails aback. In other words, the yards were braced in such a manner that the sails, counteracting their action, kept the ...
— Dick Sand - A Captain at Fifteen • Jules Verne

... taken all aback with this mark of confidence. He would decline the offer, sure that it sprang ...
— Stories by American Authors, Volume 6 • Various

... heaving-line down to us, by which we may be able to send them a hawser with a bosun's chair and hauling lines attached. If it is not troubling you too much, perhaps you will kindly hail them and explain my intentions, presently. I shall shave athwart her stern, as closely as I dare, with my main-topsail aback, so that you may have plenty of time to tell them what, our plans are, and what we want ...
— The Castaways • Harry Collingwood

... my neck, I was taken too quickly aback to stir; but stood like a stuck pig, while the ...
— Wandering Heath • Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

... Bob said, a little taken aback; "but I don't know how you guessed it. It is a young lady I knew ...
— Held Fast For England - A Tale of the Siege of Gibraltar (1779-83) • G. A. Henty

... had a surprise. The Alvina was not there. One old roustabout told me he thought she had gone to sea. I was duly taken aback. Had I made the two-hour trip for nothing? Then another came to my aid. "There she is, up in the bight," he said. I followed his gesture, and saw her—a long, slim white hull, a cream-coloured funnel with a graceful rake; the Stars and Stripes fresh painted in two places on ...
— Shandygaff • Christopher Morley

... Gabriel was somewhat taken aback. "'Tis the infallibility of the Pope that is shaken," he explained. "But in itself the Christian faith is more abhorrent to Reason than the Jewish. The things it teaches about God ...
— Dreamers of the Ghetto • I. Zangwill

... must some day die, and do hope when I do die to get to heaven, I was so taken aback with the hussy's cunning I could do naught but stand and stare ...
— A Brother To Dragons and Other Old-time Tales • Amelie Rives

... merchant ships that are rated A1 for insurance. "First-rate," on the other hand, comes from the Navy, and means ships of the largest size and strongest build, like the super-dreadnoughts of to-day. If you make a mess of things people say you are "on the wrong tack," may "get taken aback," and find yourself "on your beam ends" or, worse still, "on the rocks." So you had better remember that "if you won't be ruled by the rudder you are sure to be ruled by the rock." If you do not "know the ropes" you will not "keep on an even keel" when it's "blowing great guns." If ...
— Flag and Fleet - How the British Navy Won the Freedom of the Seas • William Wood

... He had expected to be ushered into some princely dwelling, for he had judged his interlocutor to be some rich and eccentric noble, unless he were an erratic scamp. He was somewhat taken aback by the spectacle that met his eyes. The furniture was scant, and all in the style of the last century. The dust lay half an inch thick on the old gilded ornaments and chandeliers. A great pier-glass was cracked from corner to corner, and the metallic backing seemed ...
— A Roman Singer • F. Marion Crawford

... "Oh, wasn't Donald taken aback! This was more than he had expected. Neil hadn't been courting Nancy very long, and Donald never dreamed he would propose to her QUITE ...
— The Story Girl • Lucy Maud Montgomery



Words linked to "Aback" :   take aback



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