backstop

noun
back·​stop | \ ˈbak-ˌstäp \
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

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 This is not okay when millions of dollars are on the line, and when the rest of the field isn't so lucky as to have a backstop just inches away from the hole. Daniel Rapaport, SI.com, "FORE Questions: On Slow Play, 'Backstopping" and Offbeat U.S. Open Storylines," 11 June 2018 Since 2012, District 203 spent more than $634,000 enhancing the varsity baseball field, bricking the backstop, adding screening and foul poles, renovating the press box, constructing handicap-accessible bleachers and installing batting cages. Suzanne Baker, Naperville Sun, "Dad demands equal spending on baseball and softball at Naperville Central: 'Title IX was enacted in 1972'," 9 June 2018 Officials said one idea Mrs. May put on the table was a target date for 2021 for the backstop to end. Valentina Pop, WSJ, "Europe Stands Firm on Brexit Despite May’s Push for Help," 13 Dec. 2018 This new Susan comes with a backstop that lifts and locks too, so no item will ever fall over again into unreachable corners. Collier Sutter, House Beautiful, "The $13 Gadget That Will Transform Your Cabinets," 1 Nov. 2018 That approach reflects what Democrats believe is a potential backstop for the embattled red-state Democrats. Carl Hulse, New York Times, "‘It’s a Terrible Vote’: Red-State Democrats Face an Agonizing Supreme Court Choice," 7 July 2018 That guarantee is the backstop the EU has always demanded to assure no hard border is ever restored. Stephen Fidler, WSJ, "An Explainer on the 585-page Brexit Deal," 14 Nov. 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

17 Feb 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 \

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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