back·​log | \ ˈbak-ˌlȯg How to pronounce backlog (audio) , -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

Noun We have a huge backlog of orders to be filled.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Tim Olson, associate director for field operations for the bureau, said the backlogs had been resolved and recruitment is on schedule, noting that the bulk of hiring is not set to take place until April. Washington Post, "Census Bureau kicks off 2020 ad campaign amid fears around privacy and hacking," 15 Jan. 2020 With 11 players earning induction via the writers’ vote the past three years, a ballot backlog is easing. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, "Baseball Hall of Fame: Gary Sheffield's Cooperstown drive about to hit a higher gear," 9 Jan. 2020 Senate Bill 200 is meant to prevent backlogs for processing the kits by setting standards for how evidence is collected and processed. Laura Schulte, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Tony Evers gives Republicans 'homework' as he calls for bills on insulin, PFAS and dark stores," 9 Jan. 2020 The dedication was part of the overall Rebuild Alabama Act that was established as a program to fix the state’s backlog of road projects. al, "New dredging program could be boon for Port of Mobile," 21 Dec. 2019 The mixture problem For American law enforcement, rapid DNA’s appeal is its path around the monthslong backlogs that plague crime laboratories. Jon Schuppe, NBC News, "'Rapid DNA' testing could revolutionize rape investigations ─ if the science holds up," 7 Dec. 2019 The district faces a roughly $3 billion maintenance backlog. Talia Richman,, "Baltimore mayor plans to use budget surplus for school construction," 4 Dec. 2019 Exceptions included the Lavinia Masters Act, aimed at eliminating Texas' rape kit backlog, and Tennessee's JaJuan Latham Act, which toughened criminal penalties in drive-by shootings. Julie Carr Smyth,, "Black victims underrepresented in named violent crime laws," 3 Dec. 2019 This green card backlog is daunting: USCIS is still processing applications from 2009; the CATO Institute, a libertarian think tank, estimates the wait time for Indians with advanced degrees is 49 years. Sinduja Rangarajan, Quartz India, "In Trump’s America, the H-1B dream has turned into a bureaucratic nightmare for skilled Indians," 3 Dec. 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of backlog


1684, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1963, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about backlog

Time Traveler for backlog

Time Traveler

The first known use of backlog was in 1684

See more words from the same year

Statistics for backlog

Last Updated

19 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Backlog.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 21 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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


How to pronounce backlog (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of backlog

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on backlog

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for backlog

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with backlog

Spanish Central: Translation of backlog

Nglish: Translation of backlog for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of backlog for Arabic Speakers

Comments on backlog

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


good-natured easy friendliness

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Eponym Quiz

  • rubens painting
  • Which is the best synonym of bowdlerize?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

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!