back·​pack | \ˈbak-ˌpak \

Definition of backpack 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a load carried on the back

b : a camping pack (as of canvas or nylon) supported by a usually aluminum frame and carried on the back

c : knapsack

2 : a piece of equipment designed for use while being carried on the back


backpacked; backpacking; backpacks

Definition of backpack (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to carry (food or equipment) on the back especially in hiking

intransitive verb

: to hike with a backpack

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Other Words from backpack


backpacker noun

Synonyms for backpack

Synonyms: Noun

kit bag, knapsack, pack, packsack, rucksack

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Examples of backpack in a Sentence


stuffed her backpack with so many books that she could barely walk


After college, she backpacked through Europe. We're planning to go backpacking in a national park this summer.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The rethink brought him to I.S. Jung, a South Korean manufacturer who found a way to make the backpack lighter, sleeker, and stronger, thus cementing a 25-year business partnership and friendship. Laura Dannen Redman, Condé Nast Traveler, "Innovators: Michael Crooke, Head of WAYB, Wants to Make a Travel Car Seat Like You've Never Seen Before," 7 Nov. 2018 Even thrift stores can be loaded with golf clubs, skis, tents, and even the occasional hiking backpack. Colleen Stinchcombe, SELF, "6 Tips for Making Outdoorsy Activities More Affordable," 20 Oct. 2018 These types of deals have long been negotiated for mass merchandise, often kid’s items emblazoned with cartoons (think a pint-size Iron Man backpack). Jacob Gallagher, WSJ, "Has Fashion’s Licensing of Art Gone Too Far?," 8 Oct. 2018 People rolling luggage and carrying backpacks walked past, covering their mouths to protect against the sickly stench. Todd Pitman, Fox News, "AP WAS THERE: 2013 typhoon kills thousands in Philippines," 15 Sep. 2018 The fourth in line for the throne flashed the cutest poses in her little red coat and pink backpack. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "We Probably Won't See Prince George and Princess Charlotte's Back-To-School Photos This Year," 6 Sep. 2018 There’s no need to have them get beat up in an empty backpack. Max Berlinger,, "LeBron James carries a $41,000 bag. Here's your chance to get into the man-bag game with these picks," 12 July 2018 In Grand Rapids, Michigan, Ever Reyes Mejia walked out of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement center Tuesday, carrying his beaming son and the boy's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles backpack. Elliot Spagat And Mike Householder,, "Government falls short of deadline to reunite kids, parents separated at the border," 11 July 2018 In Grand Rapids, Michigan, Ever Reyes Mejia walked out of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement center Tuesday, carrying his beaming son and the boy’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles backpack. Time, "Government Falls Short of Deadline to Reunite Separated Migrant Kids and Their Parents," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The two met in Australia while Lee was backpacking around the world to celebrate her 60th birthday. Brett Martin, Outside Online, "Katie Lee, Our Lady of Glen Canyon," 24 May 2018 For the past few years, McWilliams, originally from Colorado Springs, Colorado, has been backpacking around the United States and Canada, making money on odd jobs and as an outdoors survival instructor. Patty Hodapp, Outside Online, "The Man Who Survived a Rattler, Bear, and Shark Attack," 10 July 2018 Here are seven ways to keep your backpacking gear working like new for a long, long time. Bryan Rogala, Outside Online, "Keep Your Backpacking Gear Working Like New," 24 May 2018 White was backpacking alone and snapped photos of the grizzly before the attack. Anchorage Daily News, "The killing of an Eagle River hiker marks the 6th fatal bear attack in Alaska in the past 10 years. Here are the others.," 21 June 2018 But for day hiking, overnight backpacking, biking, and cragging, the always-venting hard shell worked really well. Matt Jancer, Outside Online, "A Eulogy to the Sierra Designs Ultralight Trench," 12 June 2018 The shelters are the closest spot for backpacking for Milwaukeeans, offering a slice of wilderness in the most developed part of the state. Chelsey Lewis, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "10 remote campsites in Wisconsin for peace and quiet," 14 May 2018 Folks come to backpack for days in the 517,000-acre Trinity Alps Wilderness or to wander along the frothy McCloud River Trail to a series of cascading falls, some as high as 50 feet. Tim Neville, Outside Online, "The Definitive Guide to Visiting the Pacific Northwest," 24 May 2018 The Chinese government claims Sneddon -- an experienced traveler who had served as a missionary in South Korea -- plunged to his death while backpacking through Tiger Leaping Gorge and drowned. Alex Diaz, Fox News, "North Korea, Trump have more than nukes to discuss at historic sit-down, experts say," 4 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'backpack.' 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 backpack


1897, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1899, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

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Statistics for backpack

Last Updated

29 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for backpack

The first known use of backpack was in 1897

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More Definitions for backpack



English Language Learners Definition of backpack

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a bag for carrying things that has two shoulder straps and is carried on the back



English Language Learners Definition of backpack (Entry 2 of 2)

: to hike or travel with a backpack


back·​pack | \ˈbak-ˌpak \

Kids Definition of backpack

: a bag worn on the back for carrying things

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More from Merriam-Webster on backpack

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with backpack

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for backpack

Spanish Central: Translation of backpack

Nglish: Translation of backpack for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of backpack for Arabic Speakers

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