back·​story | \ ˈbak-ˌstȯr-ē How to pronounce backstory (audio) \

Definition of backstory

: a story that tells what led up to the main story or plot (as of a film)

Examples of backstory in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The proof was already in the photos, but the backstory of the Gaines family home probably helped seal the deal. Blair Donovan, Country Living, "Joanna Gaines Finally Met the Woman Who's Responsible for 'Fixer Upper'," 7 Apr. 2019 That backstory brings this family warmth and unites the family as one. Gabe Bergado, Teen Vogue, "The Other Two Star Case Walker on Nabbing the Role of Chase Dreams, Coming Up on, and the Show's Portrayal of Influencers," 28 Mar. 2019 Characters show up, deliver backstory and dramatic revelations, and then, more often than not, die. Aja Romano, Vox, "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald feels like a giant prologue for some other movie," 17 Nov. 2018 Add to this that Ms. Sherrill is an attractive candidate with a strong backstory. William Mcgurn, WSJ, "Will New Jersey Decide GOP Majority?," 22 Oct. 2018 Kristin Fisher is live in Washington tonight with the backstory on who this prosecutor is. Fox News, "Coons: Kavanaugh hearing should be paused for investigation," 27 Sep. 2018 Speaking of that rock, TMZ now has details about the ring's backstory. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Justin Bieber Reportedly Spent Half a Million Dollars on Hailey Baldwin's Engagement Ring," 13 July 2018 But the most valuable part of Jamie Bernstein’s contribution is a certain perspective-taking that goes through the main events of her father’s career, puts them in cultural and historical context, and fills in some important personal backstory. Peter Dobrin,, "Leonard Bernstein's daughter tells Philly: My dad would love 'Hamilton' and be 'a little jealous'," 28 June 2018 While Diego's main love interest was Detective Patch and Vanya's was Leonard, in the comics, the two of them actually have a romantic backstory. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "13 Differences Between "The Umbrella Academy" Comics and TV Show," 8 Mar. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'backstory.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of backstory

1982, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about backstory

Statistics for backstory

Last Updated

11 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for backstory

The first known use of backstory was in 1982

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on backstory

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with backstory

Nglish: Translation of backstory for Spanish Speakers

Comments on backstory

What made you want to look up backstory? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


showing great care, attention, and effort

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!