back down 8

back down: meaning and explanation

If you back down, then you accept or admit that you are wrong about something, or you accept that you have lost an argument or fight. e.g. The argument went on all night, but my brother eventually backed down and apologised.

This phrasal verb can be used negatively to describe a situation in which someone will not admit that they are wrong or have lost an argument. They won’t back down. e.g. It was obvious that he had made a big mistake, but he wouldn’t back down.

Have a go at this dictation exercise to hear this phrasal verb being used in context – how much can you understand?

Dictation #1

Accent: Ireland

, .
He’s – he he’s , but to .
He’s so – he knows he’s the wrong, but refuses to down.

…He’s so stubborn

If someone is stubborn, then it is difficult to change their mind, attitude or position on something, even if they are probably wrong. This is synonymous with the word determined, but has more negative connotations.

…he knows he’s in the wrong…

If you say that someone involved in an argument is in the wrong, then you are saying that they are responsible for the argument or have done something bad or morally wrong. e.g. Sorry, but I’m not the one who is in the wrong here.

Discussion questions

Write your answers to these questions in the comments section, and I’ll get back to you with some feedback:

  • Are you a stubborn person or do you back down when you know you are in the wrong?
  • Can you remember a time when someone refused to back down?
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11 months ago

I am not a stubborn person. When I know I am wrong, I usually back down, but I think sometimes I should be a little more stubborn.

I don’t remember a time when someone refused to back down in a discussion with me, but I see that on the internet there are lots of people that can’t admit they might be wrong and arguments go on and on and no one back down.

11 months ago

Oh,a lot of people don’t BACK DOWN, when they are in wrong, so am I (sometimes), because we see mistakes of others, but don’t see the own ones.

Sveta Tsalkovska
Sveta Tsalkovska
11 months ago

Hi) First of all, have never heard the phrase “to be in the wrong” before… Not sure I understand it correctly. I mean what is the difference between just “be wrong”?
Answering the questions – if I truly see that I’m wrong, I will back down despite it’s not easy on a practice.

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