backup

1 of 2

noun

back·​up ˈbak-ˌəp How to pronounce backup (audio)
often attributive
1
a
: one that serves as a substitute or support
I brought an extra pencil for backup.
a backup plan
b
: musical accompaniment
The tunes include banjo and guitar backup.
c
: additional personnel who provide assistance
The police officer called for backup.
2
: an accumulation caused by a stoppage in the flow
traffic backup
3
: a copy of computer data (such as a file or the contents of a hard drive)
I made a backup copy of the file.
also : the act or an instance of making a backup

back up

2 of 2

verb

backed up; backing up; backing up

intransitive verb

: to accumulate in a congested state
traffic backed up for miles

transitive verb

1
: to move into a position behind (a teammate) in order to assist on a play
2
3
: to make a copy of (a computer file or data) to protect against accidental loss or corruption
Be sure to back up your work.
also : to make copies of all the files on (a device)
a program that automatically backs up your hard drive

Example Sentences

Noun His role on the team is to be a backup to the regular quarterback. We have an extra radio as a backup in case this one doesn't work. We have an extra radio for backup. He provides backup for the regular quarterback. She sang backup on his CD.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
On the first play of the new series, Miami’s Jeff Wilson Jr., the backup running back, scored a 20-yard rushing touchdown on the first play of the new series to ice the game. Irie Harris, cleveland, 14 Nov. 2022 Authorized by the Food and Drug Administration nearly a year ago, Paxlovid has carried the hopes of doctors and public health officials who count on it as a rescue drug for the unvaccinated and a backup for vaccinated people in fragile health. Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times, 14 Nov. 2022 The crash took place around 6:45 a.m. within HOV lane near Exit 11 on the Expressway in Milton and has created a three-mile long backup for traffic, MassDOT reported around 6:51 a.m. on Twitter. John R. Ellement, BostonGlobe.com, 10 Nov. 2022 The backup of cargo ships off the port of Los Angeles and Long Beach has been cleared. Paul Wiseman, ajc, 10 Nov. 2022 The backup of cargo ships off the port of Los Angeles and Long Beach has been cleared. Hartford Courant, 10 Nov. 2022 In a turn of events that elevated Bourguet from backup to starter this season, the passing game has outperformed last season’s group and has been the offense’s best weapon. Jenna Ortiz, The Arizona Republic, 10 Nov. 2022 Zack Steffen, a former backup at Manchester City now on loan at Middlesbrough, who had a case to start for the U.S. Andrew Beaton, WSJ, 9 Nov. 2022 Trailing Herro was Andrew Nembhard, who Carlisle trusted with the assignment despite his status as a rookie and a backup. Wilson Moore, The Indianapolis Star, 7 Nov. 2022
Verb
This doesn't just mean being able to back up your facts and figures. Andrew Fennell, Forbes, 11 Nov. 2022 The simplest way is to back up your data to your Google account. WIRED, 22 Oct. 2022 The 6-9, 245-pounder is expected to back up Crowl and provide rebounding and physical play in the post. Jeff Potrykus, Journal Sentinel, 7 Oct. 2022 But when Jones was ruled out with an ankle injury for Week 4 against Green Bay, Zappe was elevated to back up Hoyer. Andrew Mahoney, BostonGlobe.com, 4 Oct. 2022 Quickly, Saraland is back up 24-17 on McGill-Toolen with 2:34 left in the half. Ben Thomas | Bthomas@al.com, al, 28 Oct. 2022 Trump’s lawyers for claiming privileges in an initial batch of documents without providing any evidence to back up their claim. Perry Stein And Devlin Barrett, Anchorage Daily News, 22 Oct. 2022 Indeed, while markets rallied before the Prime Minister Liz Truss's big U-turn, a lack of detail about spending plans sent borrowing costs back up and the pound down late Friday. Anna Hirtenstein, WSJ, 14 Oct. 2022 The chopper flew back up there and picked him up in a torrential downpour. Svati Kirsten Narula, Outside Online, 11 Oct. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'backup.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

Noun

1910, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1801, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of backup was in 1801

Dictionary Entries Near backup

Cite this Entry

“Backup.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/backup. Accessed 28 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

backup 1 of 2

noun

back·​up ˈbak-ˌəp How to pronounce backup (audio)
1
: a person or thing that takes the place of or supports another
has a backup in case he gets sick
2
: a gathering or piling up because the flow has been stopped
a traffic backup
3
: a copy of a computer file to protect against loss of data
also : the act or an instance of making a backup

back up

2 of 2

verb

1
: to gather or pile up because the flow has been stopped
traffic backed up for miles
2
: to make a copy of (as a computer file) to protect against loss of data

More from Merriam-Webster on backup

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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