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 Deaths Death totals as reported are up significantly because the state discovered a backlog that had caused an undercount by more than 4,000. Rich Exner, cleveland, "6 graphs to illustrate Ohio coronavirus trends for vaccines, hospitalizations, deaths and cases: mid-February update," 16 Feb. 2021 Richards expressed sympathy for Illinoisans frustrated with the state’s backlog of employment claims and corruption reports. Cole Lauterbach, Washington Examiner, "Illinois unemployment offices remain closed due, in part, to ‘threats of violence’," 11 Feb. 2021 Neave, a rising star in the Democratic party who has earned praise for her work on the state’s rape kit backlog, was also named vice chair of the General Investigative Committee. James Barragán, Dallas News, "Winners and losers: Texas House Speaker shakes up chamber’s leadership with emphasis on new faces," 4 Feb. 2021 Even when excluding a 72-case backlog reported late in the month, January was still more deadly than any other month. Marina Starleaf Riker, San Antonio Express-News, "San Antonio added almost 600 COVID-19 deaths in January," 3 Feb. 2021 Besides the backlog in many courts, the video conference appointments in some states mean that judges are able to get through fewer cases than when everyone crowded into the courtroom and cases went one after another. New York Times, "Manage Your Divorce Expectations," 30 Jan. 2021 The wave of Covid-19 patients now deluging hospitals is creating a mounting backlog of elective cases doctors have decided can be put off for weeks or months. Elizabeth Cooney, STAT, "Elective, but not optional: Orthopedic patients eagerly await surgeries delayed by Covid-19," 27 Jan. 2021 This could lead to a data backlog that skews numbers in the following days. WSJ, "Coronavirus Live Updates: U.S. Reports Second-Highest Number of Deaths in a Day," 21 Jan. 2021 Amid a record backlog of nearly 1.3 million immigration cases that’s ballooned under Trump and coronavirus closures, the average wait for a decision has reached almost 2½ years. Los Angeles Times, "Biden inherits border chaos from Trump but begets uncertainty and false hope," 20 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb California is one of a number states that in recent years made counting and testing rape kit backlogs a priority. Megan Cassidy,, "Audit finds Oakland police have 1,200 untested rape kits — second most in California," 14 May 2020

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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Time Traveler for backlog

Time Traveler

The first known use of backlog was in 1684

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Statistics for backlog

Last Updated

22 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Backlog.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Mar. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of backlog

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

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