Go back

verb (intransitive, adverb)
to return
(often foll by to) to originate (in): the links with France go back to the Norman Conquest
(foll by on) to change one’s mind about; repudiate (esp in the phrase go back on one’s word)
(of clocks and watches) to be set to an earlier time, as during British Summer Time: when do the clocks go back this year?
Return, retrace one’s steps; also, return to a former condition. For example, I’m going back to the haunts of my youth, or We want to go back to the old way of doing things. [ First half of 1500s ]
Extend backward in space or time, as in Our land goes back to the stone wall, or The family name goes back to Norman times. [ Second half of 1600s ]
Also see: go back on


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  • Go back to square one

    verb phrase To be forced to return to one’s starting point, usually after a waste of effort; make a new beginning Related Terms back to square one, square one [1960+; probably fr the first or starting square of a board game; an elaborate suggestion that it refers to a British grid system for locating places […]

  • Go back to the well

    verb phrase To return to a reliable source: We just kept going back to the well and he just kept making it (1980s+)

  • Go balls out

    verb phrase To make a supreme effort; go for broke: I went balls out on my term paper [1980s+ Students; see balls-out and balls to the wall]

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