Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, September 16, 2016

Back in business

I Swear

Vic Fleming

There are many common words and phrases in which back is an integral part. And many of them have significant application in the autumn of the year.

Welcome back is a common greeting from schools, churches and other facilities. Interestingly, though, this phrase doesn’t really have dictionary support as a stand-alone. I would define it in two ways, if I were a lexicographer:

1. To greet (someone) on his or her return. As in “Let’s welcome Sissy back to the stage.” 

2. Common exclamation to someone who is returning after some period of time away. As in “Welcome back, old buddy. We haven’t seen you in weeks.”

Others that might be heard in the fall are: 

Back to back.  As in “We’re about to see if the football team can put together back-to-back winning seasons.”

Bounce back. “The question is whether Smith can bounce back from the knee injury he suffered in the spring.”

Bring back. “The falling leaves bring back memories of straining my back last year when I was raking.”

Carry back. “The IRS wants to audit your returns, based on those carry-back losses you took last fiscal year.”

Comeback. “I’m still the comeback kid, especially when it comes back to comebacks.”

Double back. “I had to double back and get the lunch I left on the kitchen counter, so I wouldn’t have to eat cafeteria food today.”

Drop back. “Smith will drop back to pass, and he’s clearly favoring that left knee, Sam!”

Did someone say that you really don’t need the examples? All right then. We still have fall back, fight back, get back, give back, go back, hang back, hold back, kick back, knock back, ladder back, laid back, look back, pay back, play back, pull back, push back, put back, roll back, running back, and set back. And that list disregards the ever popular I’m back, he’s back, she’s back, and you’re back.

Of course, there is also baby back, as ribs. As well as answer back, bareback, biofeedback, cornerback, greenback, flashback, fullback, halfback, hatchback, humpback, hunchback, quarterback, roll back, silverback, stand back, strike back, take back, think back, throwback, touchback, and wingback.

I left out talk back, which leads me to backtalk, as we can put back in the front of words and phrases and well. For instance: back and forth, back away, back burner, back country, back door, back down, back end, back off, back office, back out, back room, back seat, back street, back up, backache, backbend, backbite, backboard, backbone, and backbreaking.

Not to mention backcourt, backdate, backdrop, backfield, backfill, backfire, backflow, backgammon, background, backhand, backhoe, backlash, backlit, backlog, backpack, backpedal, backrest, backscratcher, backside, backslash, backslide, backspace, backspin, backstage, backstairs, backstop, backstroke, backswing, backtrack, backwash, backwater, backwoods, and backyard.

That’s it for this week. Next week, I’ll be … you know.