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

Her timing also coincides with criticism of the candidate Sutton’s running with, Richard Cordray, over his handling as Ohio attorney general of a backlog of untested rape kits. Julie Carr Smyth, The Seattle Times, "Ohio candidate provides details of alleged domestic abuse," 28 Aug. 2018 Previous Chinese orders remain a significant chunk of Boeing’s backlog. Andrew Tangel, WSJ, "Boeing Boosts Revenue Guidance, Maintains Delivery Outlook," 25 July 2018 The Unified Health Infrastructure Project has been plagued with problems—enrollment delays, application backlogs, incorrect payments to providers and beneficiaries. Allysia Finley, WSJ, "A Democratic Reformer Tries to Hang On in New England," 7 Sep. 2018 The latest purchase brings Jet’s backlog for the narrowbody plane to 225, the company said in a statement. Anurag Kotoky, The Seattle Times, "Boeing gets a jump on air show with two big jet deals," 25 June 2018 But on Tuesday Trump appeared to reject a central piece of Cruz’s proposal: doubling the number of immigration judges to clear the backlog of cases that has slowed adjudication of cases and exacerbated the crisis. Philip Elliott, Time, "Republicans in Congress Search for an Immigration Bill to End Border Crisis," 20 June 2018 Pratt & Whitney has a backlog of 8,000 jet engines, promising tremendous profitability for years to come. Stephen Singer,, "Reports: Pratt & Whitney To Soon Resume Engine Deliveries In India," 20 Mar. 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 Donald Trump's administration added even more hurdles, creating a backlog within the Defense Department. Martha Mendoza And Garance Burke,, "Immigrant PhD candidate rocked by sudden U.S. Army discharge," 6 July 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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Last Updated

7 Dec 2018

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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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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

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