back·log | \ˈbak-ˌlȯg, -ˌläg\

Definition of backlog 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a large log at the back of a hearth fire

2 : an accumulation of tasks unperformed or materials not processed a backlog of court cases


backlogged; backlogging; backlogs

Definition of backlog (Entry 2 of 2)

Examples of backlog in a Sentence


We have a huge backlog of orders to be filled.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In 2016, the attorney general’s office provided $4.5 million from civil settlements to the state to fund KSP crime lab upgrades and prevent a backlog of rape kits from reoccurring. Andrew Wolfson, The Courier-Journal, "Andy Beshear claims rape kit test backlog is fixed, but prosecutions still lag," 9 July 2018 Donald Trump’s administration added even more hurdles, creating a backlog within the Defense Department., "Immigrant grad student shocked by abrupt Army discharge," 6 July 2018 The Trump Administration added even more hurdles, creating a backlog within the Defense Department. CBS News, "U.S. Army abruptly discharging immigrant recruits: AP," 6 July 2018 The Trump Administration added even more hurdles, creating a backlog within the Defense Department. Martha Mendoza And Garance Burke, USA TODAY, "US Army begins quietly discharging immigrant recruits on path to citizenship," 5 July 2018 The Trump Administration added even more hurdles, creating a backlog within the Defense Department. Author: Martha Mendoza, Garance Burke, Anchorage Daily News, "The US Army is quietly discharging immigrant recruits," 5 July 2018 High demand for GlaxoSmithKlein’s new and more effective shingles vaccine has created a shipping backlog that may leave some pharmacies temporarily without the needed doses. Mari A. Schaefer,, "Looking for the new shingles vaccine Shingrix? Not all Philadelphia pharmacies have it," 29 June 2018 GE Aviation spokesman Rick Kennedy also said that the aircraft engine maker has another $160 billion in contracted new business on the books for the next decade, with a backlog of 17,000 new commercial engines through the next five years. James Pilcher,, "GE dropped from Dow, but locals not worried," 20 June 2018 Meanwhile, there’s a backlog of projects that had been submitted before the rules took effect, representing up to two years of future development., "Apartment construction is drying up. Is affordable housing measure to blame?," 19 Feb. 2018

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

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First Known Use of backlog


1684, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1963, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for backlog

Last Updated

12 Oct 2018

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The first known use of backlog was in 1684

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More Definitions for backlog



Financial Definition of backlog

What It Is

Frequently used in manufacturing industries, backlog refers to unfinished work or to customer orders that have been received but are either incomplete or in the process of completion.

How It Works

Let's assume XYZ Company is able to manufacture 10,000 widgets per day. On Monday morning, the company receives an order for 50,000 widgets. Given the company's daily production capacity, XYZ Company will end Monday with a backlog of 40,000 widgets. If each widget sells for $1, XYZ Company would report a $40,000 backlog.

Backlogs are usually measured in dollars and generally occur when there is a shortage of labor or supplies. Building products to each customer's specifications may also lead to backlogs.

Why It Matters

Changes in a company's backlog may have profit implications. A rising backlog may indicate that a company is experiencing either increased sales or production problems; a falling backlog may indicate the company's sales are falling or that it is increasing production efficiency.

It is important to study a company's revenue recognition policies when evaluating backlog. Some companies may use the percentage-of-completion method, whereby a percentage of the anticipated revenue from the sale of the product is recognized according to the percentage of work complete on a specific product. If a company is not able to reasonably measure the costs and revenues attributable to different stages of the production process, it may use completed-contract accounting, whereby the revenue is recorded when the project is complete.

Source: Investing Answers



English Language Learners Definition of backlog

: a large number of jobs that are waiting to be finished

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Comments on backlog

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one that holds something together

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