Etymology
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back (n.)

Old English bæc "back," from Proto-Germanic *bakam (cognates: Old Saxon and Middle Dutch bak, Old Frisian bek), with no known connections outside Germanic. In other modern Germanic languages the cognates mostly have been ousted in this sense by words akin to Modern English ridge (such as Danish ryg, German Rücken).

Many Indo-European languages show signs of once having distinguished the horizontal back of an animal (or a mountain range) from the upright back of a human. In other cases, a modern word for "back" may come from a word related to "spine" (Italian schiena, Russian spina) or "shoulder, shoulder blade" (Spanish espalda, Polish plecy).

By synecdoche, "the whole body," especially with reference to clothing. Meaning "upright part of a chair" is from 1520s. To turn (one's) back on (someone or something) "ignore" is from early 14c. As a U.S. football position by 1876, so called from being behind the line of rushers; further distinguished according to relative position as quarterback, halfback, fullback.

To know (something) like the back of one's hand, implying familiarity, is first attested 1893 in a dismissive speech made to a character in Robert Louis Stevenson's "Catriona":

If I durst speak to herself, you may be certain I would never dream of trusting it to you; because I know you like the back of my hand, and all your blustering talk is that much wind to me.

The story, a sequel to "Kidnapped," has a Scottish setting and context, and the back of my hand to you was noted in the late 19th century as a Scottish expression meaning "I will have nothing to do with you" [see Longmuir's edition of Jamieson's Scottish dictionary]. In English generally, the back of (one's) hand has been used to imply contempt and rejection at least since 1300. Perhaps the connection of a menacing dismissal is what made Stevenson choose that particular anatomical reference.

back (v.)

mid-15c., "to keep something back, hinder," from back (adv.). Meaning "cause to move back" is from 1781. Intransitive sense "move or go back" is from late 15c. Meaning "furnish with a back or backing" is from 1728, from back (n.). Meaning "to support" (as by a bet) is attested from 1540s. Related: Backed; backing.

back (adj.)

"being behind, away from the front, in a backward direction," Middle English, from back (n.) and back (adv.); often difficult to distinguish from these when the word is used in combinations. Formerly with comparative backer (c. 1400), also backermore. To be on the back burner in the figurative sense is from 1960, from the image of a cook keeping a pot there to simmer while at work on another concoction at the front of the stove.

back (adv.)

"to or toward the rear or the original starting place; in the past; behind in position," literally or figuratively, late 14c., shortened from abak, from Old English on bæc "backwards, behind, aback" (see back (n.), and compare aback). To give (something) back is to give it again, to give it in the opposite direction to that in which it was formerly given. Adverbial phrase back and forth is attested by 1814.

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Definitions of back
1
back (v.)
be behind; approve of;
I backed Kennedy in 1960
Synonyms: endorse / indorse / plump for / plunk for / support
back (v.)
travel backward;
The car backed up and hit the tree
back into the driveway
back (v.)
give support or one's approval to;
I can't back this plan
Synonyms: second / endorse / indorse
back (v.)
cause to travel backward;
back the car into the parking spot
back (v.)
support financial backing for;
back this enterprise
back (v.)
be in back of;
My garage backs their yard
back (v.)
place a bet on;
Which horse are you backing?
Synonyms: bet on / gage / stake / game / punt
back (v.)
shift to a counterclockwise direction;
the wind backed
back (v.)
establish as valid or genuine;
Can you back up your claims?
Synonyms: back up
back (v.)
strengthen by providing with a back or backing;
2
back (n.)
the posterior part of a human (or animal) body from the neck to the end of the spine;
his back was nicely tanned
Synonyms: dorsum
back (n.)
the side that goes last or is not normally seen;
he wrote the date on the back of the photograph
Synonyms: rear
back (n.)
the part of something that is furthest from the normal viewer;
he stood at the back of the stage
Synonyms: rear
back (n.)
(football) a person who plays in the backfield;
back (n.)
the series of vertebrae forming the axis of the skeleton and protecting the spinal cord;
the fall broke his back
Synonyms: spinal column / vertebral column / spine / backbone / rachis
back (n.)
the protective covering on the front, back, and spine of a book;
Synonyms: binding / book binding / cover
back (n.)
the part of a garment that covers the back of your body;
they pinned a `kick me' sign on his back
back (n.)
a support that you can lean against while sitting;
the back of the dental chair was adjustable
Synonyms: backrest
back (n.)
(American football) the position of a player on a football team who is stationed behind the line of scrimmage;
3
back (adv.)
in or to or toward a former location;
she went back to her parents' house
back (adv.)
at or to or toward the back or rear;
he moved back
Synonyms: backward / backwards / rearward / rearwards
back (adv.)
in or to or toward an original condition;
he went back to sleep
back (adv.)
in or to or toward a past time;
never look back
set the clocks back an hour
Synonyms: backward
back (adv.)
in reply;
he wrote back three days later
back (adv.)
in repayment or retaliation;
we paid back everything we had borrowed
he hit me and I hit him back
I was kept in after school for talking back to the teacher
4
back (adj.)
related to or located at the back;
the back entrance
the back yard
back (adj.)
of an earlier date;
back issues of the magazine
back (adj.)
located at or near the back of an animal;
back (or hind) legs
Synonyms: hind / hinder
From wordnet.princeton.edu