Definition of hang back in English:

hang back

phrasal verb

  • 1Remain behind.

    ‘Stephen hung back for fear of being seen’
    • ‘When the bus finally stopped they hung back as all the kids filed off the bus.’
    • ‘Coach started speed drills and Liz hung back skating behind the guys.’
    • ‘Cole and I hung back a bit, walking slowly behind them, our fingers loosely tangled through one another's.’
    • ‘Bella hung back behind the curtains, trying her best to calm herself.’
    • ‘She hung back from the window in fear because she did not know what was going on, but saw police when she did look.’
    • ‘‘Um… hi,’ I muttered, hanging back behind Amanda in hopes that I wouldn't have to acknowledge Shawn's presence.’
    • ‘Thats why you will see a car chase on the news and several cop cars will be following behind the getaway car for a while, just hanging back.’
    • ‘Katie hung back, shaking and in deadly fear of being alone.’
    • ‘Crushing my second thoughts, I made my way down the stairs to the entrance hall, where I stopped, hanging back behind the corner of the wall.’
    • ‘To take advantage of the developing draft, the cars behind the leader often will hang back for as long as possible, hoping to pick up the freight train of partners who will help push them by the car in front.’
    stay back, hold back, stay in the background, shrink back, shy away, be reluctant to come forward, hesitate, demur, recoil, turn away
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Show reluctance to act or move.
      ‘I do not believe that our European neighbours will hang back from this’
      • ‘He was convinced the companies were hanging back and that if one takes the plunge the other would follow.’
      • ‘The film deals with topics like alcoholism and abuse that typically beg for over-the-top melodrama and sweeping moral declarations, but the film hangs back, shyly refusing grand gestures for the sake of intimacy and implication.’
      • ‘With 10 new countries due to join the EU next year and a constitutional treaty being drafted, this is not a time for Britain to be hanging back in Europe.’
      • ‘While the police hung back, a brave fellow citizen rushed forward to pull the men into his car and drive them to the hospital, saving their lives.’
      • ‘I think I've not hung back in pointing out the deficiencies in funding that we've had and still have, over the years.’
      • ‘Because they're hanging back, rather than throwing themselves into life, they feel the years pass through their hands.’
      • ‘That is his style, giving powers to others and hanging back.’
      • ‘People often hang back from being a live donor because they are scared, but my mum and I are living proof that it does work.’
      • ‘We also have quite a few contributors who like to hang back and give us something only when the spirit moves them.’
      • ‘We went along to the session and I hung back and sort of sulked in a corner.’