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Quick answer
"Back" is a noun which is often translated as "la espalda", and "back up" is a transitive verb phrase which is often translated as "respaldar". Learn more about the difference between "back" and "back up" below.
back(
bahk
)
A noun is a word referring to a person, animal, place, thing, feeling or idea (e.g. man, dog, house).
1. (anatomy)
a. la espalda
(f) means that a noun is feminine. Spanish nouns have a gender, which is either feminine (like la mujer or la luna) or masculine (like el hombre or el sol).
(person)
I will never turn my back on you.Nunca te daré la espalda.
b. el lomo
(m) means that a noun is masculine. Spanish nouns have a gender, which is either feminine (like la mujer or la luna) or masculine (like el hombre or el sol).
(animal)
Put the parcels on the back of the donkey.Pongan los paquetes en el lomo del burro.
2. (reverse side)
a. el respaldo
(m) means that a noun is masculine. Spanish nouns have a gender, which is either feminine (like la mujer or la luna) or masculine (like el hombre or el sol).
(chair)
You can hang your jackets on the back of your chairs.Pueden colgar sus chaquetas en el respaldo de las sillas.
b. el dorso
(m) means that a noun is masculine. Spanish nouns have a gender, which is either feminine (like la mujer or la luna) or masculine (like el hombre or el sol).
(paper)
Please, read the warning on the back of the page.Por favor, lea la advertencia al dorso de la página.
3. (rear part)
a. el fondo
(m) means that a noun is masculine. Spanish nouns have a gender, which is either feminine (like la mujer or la luna) or masculine (like el hombre or el sol).
There are seats available at the back of the plane.Hay asientos disponibles en el fondo del avión.
An adjective is a word that describes a noun (e.g. the big dog).
4. (rear)
a. trasero
Please, use the back door when leaving.Por favor, usen la puerta trasera para salir.
b. último
I prefer sitting in the back row.Prefiero sentarme en la última fila.
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
5. (to move backwards)
a. dar marcha atrás
She backed her car into the parking place.Dio marcha atrás para meterse en el estacionamiento.
b. retroceder
He would not back his truck out to let me pass.No quería retroceder su camioneta para dejarme pasar.
6. (to support)
a. respaldar
There was no one to back her idea.No había nadie que respaldara su idea.
An adverb is a word that describes a verb, an adjective, or other adverbs (e.g. to run quickly, very tired).
7. (in space)
a. atrás
Step back; the floor is wet.Den un paso atrás; el suelo está mojado.
8. (in time)
a.
This refers to an idiomatic word or phrase for which there is no word-for-word translation.
no direct translation
Back when I was your age, we walked to school.Allá cuando yo tenía tu edad, caminábamos a la escuela.
Things were different back then.Las cosas eran distintas de aquella.
9. (returned)
a. de vuelta
She went to the store and was back in no time.Fue a la tienda y estuvo de vuelta en cinco minutos.
They will be back at six.Estarán de vuelta a las seis.
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back up(
bahk
 
uhp
)
A transitive verb phrase is a phrase that combines a verb with a preposition or other particle and requires a direct object (e.g. Take out the trash.).
transitive verb phrase
1. (to support)
a. respaldar
We have plenty of evidence to back up our theory that Hugo embezzled funds.Tenemos un montón de pruebas para respaldar la teoría de que Hugo malversó fondos.
b. apoyar
The officer called for more police to back her up.La oficial llamó a solicitar más policías que la apoyaran.
c. confirmar
This certified document backs up my claim to Mr. Richardson's estate.Este documento certificado confirma mi derecho al patrimonio del Sr. Richardson.
2. (to reverse)
a. dar marcha atrás
Back the car up carefully so as not to hit anyone.Da marcha atrás con el coche, con cuidado de no golpear a nadie.
b. echar en reversa
Regionalism used in Colombia
(Colombia)
Regionalism used in Mexico
(Mexico)
I had to back up the car because I entered a dead end alley.Tuve que echar el carro en reversa porque entré en un callejón sin salida.
3. (computers)
a. hacer una copia de seguridad
Remember to back up the financial data.Acuérdate de hacer una copia de seguridad de los datos financieros.
An intransitive verb phrase is a phrase that combines a verb with a preposition or other particle and does not require a direct object (e.g. Everybody please stand up.).
intransitive verb phrase
4. (to reverse)
a. dar marcha atrás
You need to back up and then you can pull out of the parking space.Debes dar marcha atrás y luego puedes salir del cajón de estacionamiento.
b. echar reversa
Regionalism used in Colombia
(Colombia)
Regionalism used in Mexico
(Mexico)
Selene was going the wrong way on a one way street and refused to back up.Selene iba en contravía en una calle de un solo sentido y no quiso echar reversa.
c. retroceder
I heard a loud noise and a scream, and so I backed up slowly.Oí un ruido fuerte y un chillo, y retrocedí unos pasos lentamente.
5. (to accumulate)
a.
This refers to an idiomatic word or phrase for which there is no word-for-word translation.
no direct translation
The orders are backing up because they're coming in faster than we can process them.Los pedidos se están acumulando porque llegan más rápido que lo que podemos procesarlos.
Traffic backed up for miles due to road construction.El trancón de tráfico se extendía por millas debido a la construcción en la carretera.
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