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

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 Airbus last month struck from its backlog 10 orders for its A380 superjumbo that were listed as going to an undisclosed customer. Robert Wall, WSJ, "Airbus Order Rate Slackened in 2018," 9 Jan. 2019 Catch up on your backlog of podcasts one weekend and tackle a recipe project, like these xiaolongbao, Pork Soup Dumplings—a dish requiring your unrivaled patience, technical skill, and a clear schedule. Catherine O’neill, Bon Appetit, "Your January Horoscope: Dumplings and Predictions," 2 Jan. 2018 Our backlog numbered somewhere around 20,000 kits, a staggering sum. Wendy Davis, Cosmopolitan, "Wendy Davis: The Disturbing Reason Why Our Justice System is Failing Sexual Assault Survivors," 30 Aug. 2016 Newsletter Sign-up The drop in orders could help burn through those backlogs. Jennifer Smith, WSJ, "Heavy-Duty Truck Orders Hit the Brakes in March," 2 Apr. 2019 Boeing has about 4,600 unfilled Max orders, making up the bulk of a huge backlog that the company values at $490 billion. Bernard Condon, The Seattle Times, "Financial pressure mounts to fix Boeing’s troubled jetliner," 1 Apr. 2019 The industry could face further delays, however, if the bureau struggles to catch up with a backlog in approval requests. Ezequiel Minaya, WSJ, "Companies Fear Uncertainty Even as Government Reopens," 28 Jan. 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

22 Jun 2019

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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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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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