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

Definition of back-order

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

: to assign to the status of back order

back order


Definition of back order (Entry 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: Noun At least 19,428 people have been hospitalized since the start of the pandemic, and four regions in the had over 85% of their critical care beds in use at the time of the dial back order, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. Zoe Christen Jones, CBS News, "Over 150 Minnesota restaurants and bars plan to defy COVID-19 restrictions," 14 Dec. 2020 Skates were frequently sold out or on back order, both online and at bricks-and-mortar stores. Leigh-ann Jackson, Los Angeles Times, "Wheel good fun: How old-school roller skates became the perfect pandemic pastime," 11 Dec. 2020 According to Henry Ford, while the freezers are available commercially, many of the units are on back order as states, local health departments and health care providers worldwide are scrambling to get them. Tresa Baldas, Detroit Free Press, "Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine may be in Michigan by Dec. 12; Henry Ford will distribute," 25 Nov. 2020 Like Harford County, Anne Arundel is having about 25,000 of its 85,000 students supply their own laptops while 30,000 Chromebooks are on back order. Liz Bowie,, "Baltimore-area schools start the year with online education. Thousands of students lack a way to engage.," 8 Sep. 2020 Appliance retailers are struggling to find stock in household appliances across the board -- everything from refrigerators to ovens is on back order until 2021. Catherine Matos,, "Refrigerators, other appliances in short supply in Central Florida, thanks to COVID-19," 16 Oct. 2020 And with patio heaters on back order, families are laying in marshmallows (could that be the next shortage?), and bundles of firewood are becoming a hot gift. Washington Post, "How to safely — and graciously — host friends and family as the weather gets colder," 15 Oct. 2020 Raboine says fire-pit sales are up more than 20 percent over last year — and some are on back order. Washington Post, "How to make the most of your outdoor space as the pandemic drags on into fall and winter," 30 Sep. 2020 And some districts are starting the year with computing devices needed for students still on back order. Wilborn P. Nobles Iii,, "Students return — virtually — to classrooms around the Baltimore region," 8 Sep. 2020

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

See More

First Known Use of back-order


1901, in the meaning defined above


1887, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about back-order

Time Traveler for back-order

Time Traveler

The first known use of back-order was in 1887

See more words from the same year

Statistics for back-order

Cite this Entry

“Back-order.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for back-order

back order


English Language Learners Definition of back order

chiefly US, business : a product that has been ordered but not sent to the customer because it is not yet available

Comments on back-order

What made you want to look up back-order? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

February 2021 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of perdure?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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