Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

stand back - definition and synonyms

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Thesaurus diagram

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

phrasal verb [intransitive]
Word Forms
present tense
I/you/we/theystand back
he/she/itstands back
present participlestanding back
past tensestood back
past participlestood back
  1. 1
    to move away from something, or to stand at a distance from something, especially something dangerous
    stand back from:

    The children were told to stand well back from the fire.

  2. 2
    if a building stands back from a road, it is a short distance away from it
    stand back from:

    The house stands back around twenty yards from the lane.

  3. 3
    to not let yourself be influenced by your feelings about a situation so that you can think about it more clearly

    I forced myself to stand back and assess the situation.

See also main entry: stand


to manipulate someone psychologically so that they begin to question their own perceptions and memories

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

Dunning-Kruger effect

the phenomenon by which an incompetent person is too incompetent to understand his own incompetence

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play