Antique Early

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Frequently Asked Questions...

What does the verb back down mean?

"Will you back down? will you put up a fight?"

And I don't know what "put up" means... Help! :P


Best Answer...

Answer:

According to the American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms, 'back down' means: (Date of origin in brackets)
1. Reverse one's upward course, descend. For example, When she saw the wasps' nest on the roof, she hastily backed down the ladder. This literal usage usually refers to something one has climbed, such as a ladder or mountain. [Mid-1800s]
2. Also, back off. Retreat or yield. For example, As the watchdog began to snarl the letter carrier backed off, or You have a good point; now don't back down when you present it to the board. [First half of 1900s] Also see back away, def. 2.

You also asked what does 'put-up' mean. I hope these definitions from helps: (Date of origin in brackets)

1. Erect, build; also, lift to a higher position. For example, They put up three new houses on our street, or She looks more grownup when she puts up her hair in a bun. [c. 1600]
2. Preserve, can, as in She put up countless jars of jam. [Early 1800s]
3. Nominate, as in Tom put up Peter for president. [Late 1500s]
4. Provide funds, especially in advance, as in They put up nearly a million for the new museum.
5. put someone up. Provide lodgings for, as in We can put you up for the night. [Mid-1700s]
6. Startle game from cover, as in The hunter put up three grouse. [Late 1400s]
7. Offer for sale, as in They had to put up their last antiques. [Early 1700s]
8. Make a display or appearance of, as in They were actually broke but put up a good front. [First half of 1800s]
9. Do well in a contest, as in They put up a good fight. [Late 1800s]
10. Stake money for a bet, as in Each player put up ten dollars. [Mid-1800s]