Merriam-Webster shares definitions of 'stand back' and 'stand by' after Trump Proud Boy comment

The makers behind the Merriam-Webster dictionary on Tuesday night shared the definitions of “stand back” and “stand by” after President TrumpDonald John TrumpIvanka Trump, Jared Kusher's lawyer threatens to sue Lincoln Project over Times Square billboards Facebook, Twitter CEOs to testify before Senate Judiciary Committee on Nov. 17 Sanders hits back at Trump's attack on 'socialized medicine' MORE refused to denounce white supremacy and the Proud Boys.

During the presidential debate against Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenFacebook, Twitter CEOs to testify before Senate Judiciary Committee on Nov. 17 Sanders hits back at Trump's attack on 'socialized medicine' Senate GOP to drop documentary series days before election hitting China, Democrats over coronavirus MORE, Trump was asked by moderator Chris WallaceChristopher (Chris) WallaceChris Wallace teases Sunday interview with 'bestie' Ice Cube Five takeaways from the final Trump-Biden debate Chris Wallace says he was 'jealous' of moderator watching final debate between Trump and Biden MORE of Fox News to denounce white supremacists and militia groups who have aligned themselves with him. 

Trump asked Wallace to “give me a name," and Biden pointed to the Proud Boys, a group that the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated as a hate group.


“Proud Boys, stand back and stand by,” Trump said. 

Merriam-Webster noted that “stand back” means to “take a few steps backwards" but “stand by” means “to be or to get ready to act.”


The Proud Boys describe themselves as “a pro-Western fraternal organization for men who refuse to apologize for creating the modern world, also known as Western Chauvinists." They have been tied to violent protests, often in support of the president.

The far-right group celebrated online after they were mentioned during the debate, sharing a new logo with Trump’s remarks. Many of the members reportedly interpreted “stand back and stand by” as a call to arms.  

"This. This is Donald Trump's America," Biden wrote on Twitter. 

Congressional Democrats immediately tore into Trump’s refusal to condemn white supremacists.

"President Trump was asked to condemn white supremacy. He refused," tweeted Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerTrump announces opening of relations between Sudan and Israel Five takeaways on Iran, Russia election interference Pelosi calls Iran 'bad actor' but not equivalent to Russia on election interference MORE (D-N.Y.). "He told white supremacists to 'stand back and stand by.' President Trump is a national disgrace, and Americans will not stand for it."

"Donald Trump is a white supremacist," added Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezProgressive lawmakers call for United Nations probe into DHS 'human rights abuses' OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Democrats play defense, GOP goes on attack after Biden oil comments | Energy Dept. exempts quick dishwashers from existing efficiency standards | Ocasio-Cortez says having Green New Deal would have helped handle COVID-19 pandemic Ocasio-Cortez says Biden vote can be 'tactical' effort to support marginalized communities MORE (D-N.Y.). "People have been warning about this for a long time. They were ridiculed, called hyperbolic & radical not bc they were wrong, but bc others couldn’t accept that our country elected a supremacist as President. This is fascism at our door."