Phrase of the day with an explanation of it's origin
Today's phrase is a phrasal verb with a nautical origin.
To be taken aback
When someone has been really surprised by something unexpected and it stops them in their tracks.
'Aback' is a nautical term for when there is a sudden change in the direction of the wind which flattens the sails against the mast. This can mean that sailing boats and especially the old tall square-rigged ships will be slowed down or even blown backwards.