draw back

To draw back is to retreat or recoil, to physically move back from someone or something. At the sight of the large snake held by a zookeeper, most children will draw back — except for the extreme reptile fans.

You might draw back from the edge of a cliff once you realize how high up the mountain you've climbed, or draw back from your dog after she's rolled in something particularly stinky. There's also a figurative way to draw back, when you change your mind, deciding to do something different than what was expected: "It surprised me when she decided to draw back from studying music and major in economics instead."

Definitions of draw back
  1. verb
    pull back or move away or backward
    synonyms: move back, pull away, pull back, recede, retire, retreat, withdraw
    back away, back out, crawfish, crawfish out, pull back, pull in one's horns, retreat, withdraw
    make a retreat from an earlier commitment or activity
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    advance, go on, march on, move on, pass on, progress
    move forward, also in the metaphorical sense
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    fall back
    move back and away from
    retreat, retrograde
    move back
    back down, back off, back up
    move backwards from a certain position
    ebb, ebb away, ebb down, ebb off, ebb out
    flow back or recede
    type of:
    go, locomote, move, travel
    change location; move, travel, or proceed, also metaphorically
  2. verb
    use a surgical instrument to hold open (the edges of a wound or an organ)
    synonyms: pull back, retract
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    type of:
    apply force so as to cause motion towards the source of the motion
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