Etymology
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back off (v.)

"retreat, stop annoying someone," by 1938, from the verbal phrase, from back (v.) + off (adv.).

updated on October 27, 2013

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Definitions of back off from WordNet

back off (v.)
move backwards from a certain position;
Synonyms: back up / back down
back off (v.)
remove oneself from an obligation;
Synonyms: chicken out / pull out / back down / bow out
Etymologies are not definitions. From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.