1 of 2


back-or·​der ˈbak-ˌȯr-dər How to pronounce back-order (audio)
back-ordered; back-ordering; back-orders

transitive verb

: to assign to the status of back order

back order

2 of 2


: a business order yet to be fulfilled because stock is unavailable

Examples of back-order in a Sentence

Noun The book I want to buy is a back order and won't be shipped for three weeks. The book I want to buy is on back order and won't be shipped for three weeks.
Recent Examples on the Web
But the guns were on back order and difficult to get, especially during the pandemic, said John Mannewitz, who owns Targetmaster with his family. Kevin Krause, Dallas News, 11 May 2023 The Tesla halted production on a 576-km Model 3 Long Range, with Elon Musk citing unmanageable back orders. IEEE Spectrum, 22 Apr. 2023 In places like Harford County, where laptops are on back order, students in kindergarten through grade 3 won’t have devices to access classes unless their family provides them, administrators said. Liz Bowie,, 8 Sep. 2020 Everything was on back order. cleveland, 4 Sep. 2020 Sporks are on back order for months., 30 Sep. 2021 With the Akorn shutdown, Gurz said products from the one remaining major domestic source of liquid albuterol, Nephron Pharmacuticals, have been on back order. Jen Christensen, CNN, 3 Mar. 2023 Mixers, speakers and controllers — which are to turntables as laptops are to desktops — from brands like Pioneer DJ have been on back order for months. Brian Josephs, New York Times, 31 Dec. 2022 The parts needed to fix it were on back order due to the frequency of these thefts. The Enquirer, 19 Aug. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'back-order.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


1901, in the meaning defined above


1887, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of back-order was in 1887

Dictionary Entries Near back-order

Cite this Entry

“Back-order.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition

back order

: a business order that is to be fulfilled later because the item is unavailable
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!