NAVAL TERMS

Did you ever wonder where the term "taken aback" came from?
 
"Taken aback" means to be surprised unexpectedly.  I comes from the days of sail and refers to a sudden change of wind presing the sails against the masts and spars.  In this state the ship was "Taken aback".  When a sail ship encounters as aback, it slows considerably and can even be driven backwards.  Not a good position for a man o'war!