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


We have a huge backlog of orders to be filled.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Sanders, like McAleenan, has been pleading with Congress to pass a $4.5 billion supplemental funding request to expand detention space, blaming the poor conditions for children on a backlog. Julia Ainsley, NBC News, "Acting CBP Commissioner John Sanders to step down after two months," 25 June 2019 In his response to the audit, Bakalis wrote that the agency was working on the backlog of open projects and promised a shorter turnaround time for future projects. Lily Altavena, azcentral, "Hundreds of school repairs across Arizona delayed for more than a year, audit finds," 21 June 2019 Although the programme was supposed to end in 2016, the government is still working on a big backlog of cases, with some 600,000 hectares still to be parcelled out, much of it on Negros. The Economist, "Filipino farmers are fighting—and dying—for land to till," 21 June 2019 An emergency passport can take months amid a backlog of 280,000 applications, never mind recent ones. Fox News, "'We are trapped': Zimbabwe's economic crunch hits passports," 16 June 2019 Despite the backlog of rape kits in Maryland, Governor Hogan refuses to release $3.5 million in this year’s bipartisan budget to get more rape kits tested and ensure victims voices are heard. Luke Broadwater,, "Democrats push Hogan to release money for school construction, community colleges, rape kit testing," 15 June 2019 Pritzker’s office anticipates a $150 million surplus, which would be devoted to paying down some of the state’s $6 billion backlog of unpaid bills. Chicago Tribune Staff,, "Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a $40 billion state budget into law. Here's a look at what your tax dollars are buying.," 6 June 2019 From 2013 through 2018, the backlog of unpaid tickets in Cincinnati is $10.3 million. Hannah Sparling,, "Unpaid parking tickets in Cincinnati pile up to $10 million," 18 June 2019 As of Friday, the backlog was at 21,382 and the projected cost was $3.5 billion, not including the cost of modernizing hundreds of buildings. Steve Lopez,, "This election was a bigger rout than the Measure EE failure; readers vote 9 to 1 against columnist," 12 June 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.

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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

6 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for backlog

The first known use of backlog was in 1684

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on backlog

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with backlog

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for backlog

Spanish Central: Translation of backlog

Nglish: Translation of backlog for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of backlog for Arabic Speakers

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