backstop

noun
back·​stop | \ ˈbak-ˌstäp How to pronounce backstop (audio) \
plural backstops

Definition of backstop

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : something at the back serving as a stop: such as
a : a screen or fence for keeping a ball from leaving the field of play
b : a stop (such as a pawl) that prevents a backward movement (as of a wheel)
2 : a player (such as the catcher) positioned behind the batter
3 : something or someone that provides dependable support or protection against failure or loss As the cold war heated up, Hoover became the country's backstop against subversion.— David M. Oshinsky

backstop

verb
backstopped; backstopping; backstops

Definition of backstop (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

2 : to serve as a backstop to
3 : to play the position of goalkeeper for backstop a hockey team

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Synonyms & Antonyms for backstop

Synonyms: Verb

abet, aid, assist, back, help, prop (up), support

Antonyms: Verb

hinder

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Examples of backstop in a Sentence

Noun

The pitch got past the catcher and rolled all the way to the backstop. kept some gold as a backstop in case the value of the local currency collapsed

Verb

the Nobel-winning geneticist was of course backstopped in his research by a team of highly talented assistants
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But the pitch flew past Chirinos’ glove with the ball then hitting off the shoulder of umpire Adam Hamari and bouncing to the backstop. Bob Condotta, The Seattle Times, "Mariners keep home run streak alive but two Houston grand slams too much to overcome," 13 Apr. 2019 Cap and trade was originally conceived as a kind of backstop for the state — a system that would mop up the emissions left behind after other regulations (fuel economy standards, building codes, renewable energy mandates) had done their work. David Roberts, Vox, "California’s cap-and-trade system may be too weak to do its job," 12 Dec. 2018 Some border-area residents welcomed the National Guard's arrival as a backstop for the Border Patrol, but others dismissed it as a costly, unnecessary political stunt. Molly Hennessy-fiske, latimes.com, "Texas governor promotes Trump National Guard plan, but what can troops do?," 13 Apr. 2018 Behind him, the Padres added two high-upside backstops in the 2017 draft in Campusano and Hunt. Jeff Sanders, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Padres' organizational depth charts," 25 Mar. 2018 May and other Cabinet ministers are holding talks with senior EU officials in an attempt to add a time limit or an exit clause to the backstop. Jill Lawless, The Seattle Times, "May delay: UK PM asks lawmakers for more time on Brexit," 12 Feb. 2019 Photo: Paul Faith/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images What’s the objection to the backstop? Stephen Fidler, WSJ, "Five Things to Know About Brexit Deal’s Irish Border Issue," 10 Dec. 2018 Catcher Wilson Ramos went out to talk to his fellow backstop, and pitching coach Kyle Snyder joined them. Emma Baccellieri, SI.com, "The Rays and Marlins Played An Incredibly Strange Game on Tuesday Night," 4 July 2018 The remaining private-sector retirement funds would lose their backstop. Joel Naroff, Philly.com, "The looming retirement crisis for public and private employees," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Nuclear would have to be replaced with natural gas plants necessary to backstop intermittent wind and solar. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Tom Steyer’s Energy Orders," 19 Oct. 2018 Edwards tied for the team lead with four picks as a junior and will be called upon again to be a primary playmaker for a defense that has to replace seven starters yet is still being relied upon to backstop the Badgers’ playoff hopes. — ES 94. Chris Johnson And Eric Single, SI.com, "Top 100 College Football Players of 2018: Nos. 100–51," 18 June 2018 Boston Bruins Does Frederik Andersen have enough gas in the tank to backstop a two-month playoff run? Si.com Staff, SI.com, "Why Each NHL Team Won't Win the Stanley Cup," 10 Apr. 2018 But the Trump team is invoking its aggressive constitutional theory to backstop its other arguments. Charlie Savage, New York Times, "Trump and His Lawyers Embrace a Vision of Vast Executive Power," 4 June 2018 Fired up in the first Cup Final game in Washington since 1998, the Capitals unloaded chance after chance on Fleury, who made 23 saves but couldn't backstop a frazzled, disjointed team that lost two games in a row for the first time in the playoffs. Stephen Whyno, chicagotribune.com, "Capitals flying high up 2-1 on Vegas in Stanley Cup Final," 2 June 2018 Trudeau’s government upped the ante this week, with Finance Minister Bill Morneau pledging to indemnify the C$7.4 billion ($5.8 billion) project for politically motivated delays and backstop any company willing to take it on. Michael Bellusci, Bloomberg.com, "For Sale: Stalled Pipeline Project, Protesters Included," 18 May 2018 The 37-year-old backup was in net again Wednesday to backstop the Ducks to victory — and a playoff berth — but Gibson could be returning from his latest injury soon. Mike Coppinger, latimes.com, "John Gibson returns to Ducks practice," 5 Apr. 2018 Prime Minister Justin Trudeau plans to start talks with Kinder Morgan Inc. to backstop the Trans Mountain pipeline after failing to end a spat between Canadian provinces that put the vital project at risk. Houston Chronicle, "Canada's Trudeau seeks talks with Kinder Morgan to get pipeline built," 16 Apr. 2018

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

Noun

1819, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Verb

1865, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for backstop

Last Updated

28 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for backstop

The first known use of backstop was in 1819

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More Definitions for backstop

backstop

noun

English Language Learners Definition of backstop

: a fence or screen that is placed behind the catcher to prevent the ball from rolling away
: something that is kept so that it can be used if it is needed

backstop

noun
back·​stop | \ ˈbak-ˌstäp How to pronounce backstop (audio) \

Kids Definition of backstop

: a fence behind the catcher to keep a baseball from rolling away

More from Merriam-Webster on backstop

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with backstop

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for backstop

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