back·​fill | \ ˈbak-ˌfil How to pronounce backfill (audio) \
backfilled; backfilling; backfills

Definition of backfill

: to refill (something, such as an excavation) usually with excavated material backfill a trench

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from backfill

backfill noun

Examples of backfill in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

All gas lines and electrical connections are inspected and any trenching holes are backfilled. Ed Del Grande, The Seattle Times, "Be ready for the unexpected with a standby generator," 17 July 2018 When backfilling, use the native soil — even clay soil — that came out of the planting hole. Ellen Nibali,, "Garden Q&A: Be wary of the 'bathtub effect'," 12 July 2018 The company had to properly backfill the open hole, as well. Katrease Stafford, Detroit Free Press, "Text messages reveal illegal dumping by Detroit demo contractor," 26 June 2018 When one goes to jail or passes away then someone else backfills their spot just like any multilevel organization. Washington Post, "Mexican Mafia run jail crime like an ‘illegal government’," 24 May 2018 In previous strikes, that has meant bringing in temporary workers to backfill those who don’t show up for work, though not every member of each union participates in the strike. Paul Sisson,, "Strike looms at UCSD, hospital delays surgeries," 3 May 2018 This will be about backfilling the position with a depth piece. Paul Dehner Jr.,, "Cincinnati Bengals 2018 NFL Draft strategy: Running backs," 13 Apr. 2018 On Wednesday afternoon, Duxbury Department of Public Works had just finished placing stones in front of portions of the sea wall that broke during the weekend storm, as well as backfilling it to try to keep water out. Laney Ruckstuhl,, "Coastal communities scramble amid second nor’easter in a week," 7 Mar. 2018 An adverse ruling from the state Department of Education could require the district to come up with another $10.3 million to backfill the money gap for future capital projects. Jason Ruiter,, "$10M hangs in balance at Lake schools after state audit's warning over impact-fee spending," 15 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'backfill.' 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 backfill

1874, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about backfill

Statistics for backfill

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for backfill

The first known use of backfill was in 1874

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on backfill

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with backfill

Comments on backfill

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


a strong desire or propensity

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Vocabulary Quiz Returns!

  • stylized drawing of woman pole vaulting across gap to get trophy
  • Which is a synonym of fuliginous?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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