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out +‎ back


outback (usually uncountable, plural outbacks)

  1. (Australia) The most remote and desolate areas of Australia; the desert and areas too arid for growing crops.
    • 1951 June, W. J. Banks, Flying Doctors of the Outback, The Rotarian, page 23,
      Communication like this is making a big change in the lives of Australia′s “outback” people.
    • 2000, Shirley W. Gray, Australia, page 31,
      In the outback, many people live and work on sheep and cattle ranches.
    • 2002, Erinn Banting. Australia: The People, page 20,
      The outback′s rich, red soil looked like blood because of all the iron in it, and the vast land was so still and barren that it seemed lifeless.
    • 2010, Lonely Planet, BBC Earth, The Traveller′s Guide to Planet Earth, page 129,
      Astronomers consider the outback area around Alice Springs — with its low pollution, low humidity and few light sources — to be among the best star-gazing locations on earth.




outback (comparative more outback, superlative most outback)

  1. Characteristic of the most remote and desolate areas of Australia; very remote from urban areas.
    • 1964, Western Australian Parliament, Parliamentary Debates, page 3081,
      [] the Civil Service Association is not particularly happy with the decision of the Government in regard to rents and the way they will be levied on its members in the more outback country areas.
    • 1996, David H. Bayley, Police for the Future, page 70,
      In the Northern Territory, arguably the most outback of Australian states, police are still not armed.
    • 2002, Andrew Swaffer, Katrina O'Brien, Darroch Donald, Australia: Handbook, page 215,
      From Bathurst the Mitchell Highway heads northwest through Dubbo and Bourke Nyngan then continues for almost 200 km to the most outback of towns Bourke.
    • 2008, Mike Keenan, The Shadows of Horses, Easyread Large Edition, page 135,
      We had a frosty meeting and he took me around to the AML&F Co′s staff officer, requesting a jackaroo position for me on the company′s most outback station in Queensland.


outback (not comparable)

  1. To or towards the most remote and desolate areas of Australia.
    • 1953, Western Australian Parliament, Parliamentary Debates, page 241,
      If we want this country to develop, we have to depend on men who are prepared to go outback and try to discover new shows.
    • 1984, Australian Senate, Parliamentary Debates: Senate Weekly Hansard, Volume 3, page 1474,
      This has allowed Australians really to go outback in some reasonable comfort to see the attractions of this country.
    • 2012, Andy Hughes, A Ringer′s Hands, page 10,
      Like me, the son was inspired to go outback, and when things went wrong for him the desert seemed like the perfect place to perish and decay, to get blown around on the wind.


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