to see the back of

be glad to see the back of


  • to be glad that you no longer have to deal with someone
  • be glad when someone leaves after an unpleasant experience with them
  • also used when an unpleasant experience ends
  • be pleased when somebody leaves or when something ends because you did not like them

Example Sentences

  1. After my boss made my life difficult for ten years, he finally left the company. I was glad to see the back of him.
  2. My sister has been staying with us for six months. I love her but would be glad to see the back of her.
  3. After camping without running water and sanitation for two weeks I am glad to see the back of this place.
  4. The guest became an absolute pain for the hosts and they were really pleased  to see the back of him.
  5. When he is angry I love to see the back of my dad.


The origin of the idiom is unknown. However, it is easy to surmise. When someone walks away from you, their back will be facing you. That means that the last thing you see as they leave is their back. Thus, it can be explained by saying that if you see the back of someone they are walking away from you.

The back would thus be associated with the ending of something. This would explain why you would use it when talking about an unpleasant place or experience.

T 2 Thoughts

2 Thoughts

The man was very happy to see the back of the animals when he burned the hut.

- Anonymous August 28, 2020

This site said definition, example, and origin. I would like to know the origin.

- Addison May 14, 2018

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Idiom of the Day

axe to grind

Meaning: have a private or selfish reason for doing something

Example: He should not become the chairman of the committee as he has too many axes of his own to grind. Read on


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