backset n Cf Intro “Language Changes” I.1
1 a A reversal or checking of progress, setback. [SND 1721→] chiefly Sth, S Midl
1814 NJ Jrl. (Elizabethtown) 8 Nov /3 TN, Those victories. . . have given the enemy such a back-set, that before they can recover & come again to the charge, reinforcements will get to general Jackson from Tennessee. 1838 W. Messenger 5.215 KY, O what a pity! what a backset to the advance of truth! 1878 Congressional Record 7 Feb 823/1 VA, We cannot afford that there shall be another financial backset. 1884 Amer. Bee Jrl. 20.379 NY, Bees in this vicinity have just received a backset, from which they will not recover soon. 1904 (1972) Harben Georgians 37, Darley was a growing place. It was gradually recovering from the serious back-set given it by the war. 1922 Daily Times–Enterprise (Thomasville GA) 10 June 2/2, Agricultural interests in this part of the state have had a backset in the past few weeks, due to the excessive rains. 1944 PADS 2.32 NC, Backset: . . Setback. [PADS Ed.: Also, reported from Va., upper S. C., mid. Tenn.] Common. 1952 Independent–Rec. (Helena MT) 3 Apr 1/6, They must be acutely alert to movements, especially relating to legislation and taxation, which would result in a backset to Montana’s economic progress. 1994 Iola Reg. (KS) 8 Mar 4/1, This law will be a backset to the crime problem. Only the elite will be able to partake.
b Spec: a relapse during convalescence—often in phr take a backset. chiefly Sth, S Midl Cf take v B1a
1829 Amer. Jrl. Med. Sci. 6.365 PA, Contrary to our expectations, she had a speedy recovery, and without any other backset than two or three fits of an habitual intermittent. 1847 Chr. Watchman (Boston MA) 12 Nov 182, From the Prairies. . . People who live here for a few years are bound to “take a chill” in our parlance; and they are also liable after the first attack to “get a backset,” (relapse) and then are “held bed-fast” for some time. 1864 in 2009 Montgomery–Ellis Corpus Amer. Civil War Letters nwSC, I want you to take good cear of your self When you haf to go apon your crutches and if it takes eny back set send and get Mrs Bolews gall to stay with you. 1880 Cable Grandissimes 17 LA, If you don’t mind her you’ll have a back-set, and the devil himself wouldn’t engage to cure you. 1920 Newark Advocate (OH) 5 Mar 1/2, He received a backset a couple of weeks ago and death was directly due to intestinal indigestion. 1939 Hall Coll. eTN, I like to took a back-set when I got to knockin’ about. 1946 Stuart Tales Plum Grove 196 seKY, I feel weak as water. I’ll tell you that flu is bad stuff. I got up too soon and took a back-set. 1958 Ada Weekly News (OK) 29 May 8/6, Mrs. W. E. Hough, seriously ill for many weeks, had a backset last week but was better by Friday. 1963 Altoona Mirror (PA) 19 Sept 26/3, Nelson Imler, who has been recuperating at the home of his son . . suffered a backset and was returned to the hospital Saturday. 1969 WV Hist. 30.464 Appalachians, I was getting better, but now I’ve took a backset with this flu. 1975 Tulia Herald (TX) 2 Jan 3/6, Mary Alice had a backset of the flu and they had to take her to the hospital. 1979 DARE File SC [Black], He left the hospital too soon and had a backset. 1999 Titusville Herald (PA) 3 Apr 11/4 IN, Was a cold wind sweeping across the fields and into the open buggy. Just hoping it wouldn’t make my husband a backset of pneumonia.
2 An eddy, whirlpool.
1858 Lowell New Priest 1.73, He [=Heine] sang out of a heart that knew what was the dreadful crush, and dizzying, destroying backset of the life’s flood. 1884 Amer. Meteorological Jrl. 1.53, The further flow of the Guinea current may be considered in part an eddy, or backset. 1890 Harper’s Young People 11.778, He had gained the “backset,” and though its direction was rather up along the bank than in toward it, the swimmer had still strength enough left to overcome this difficulty. 1903 White Forest 94 MI, Jimmy . . was incontinently swept over a dam and into the boiling back-set of the eddy below. Ibid 154, One pool, a backset, was known as the Idiot’s Delight, because any one could catch fish there.
3 A backwater; an area of stagnant water caused by flooding or damming.
1860 Greeley Overland Journey 274 wNV, We contrived . . to get stuck in a bayou or back-set of the Humboldt sink. 1882 Harper’s New Mth. Mag. 65.612/1 Missip Valley, Much of this was slack water, or the backset caused by the overflow. 1899 Forest & Stream 52.35, We were shot far out on the broad, lake-like bosom of the backset before the effect of the strong current was lost. 1968 DARE (Qu. C14, A stretch of still water going off to the side from a river or lake) Inf NY92, Backset.