back·​story | \ˈbak-ˌstȯr-ē \

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 backstory is complex but, Bench says, ultimately quite simple. Jon Wertheim,, "Johnny Bench Is Already a Hall-of-Famer, But He's Looking For a New Distinction," 5 July 2018 But Solo’s box-ticking approach to filling out the character’s backstory is distinctly unimaginative, and little in the film expands the universe in any way. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "Solo: A Star Wars Story is the safest, most forgettable Star Wars movie," 24 May 2018 The backstory for all this is a threat by Lex Luthor. Dewayne Bevil,, "Madame Tussauds: A Justice League of their own," 23 May 2018 As for where the term comes from, the backstory is murkier. Samuel Hine, GQ, "Go Inside the Cult of Classic Candy-Painted, Big-Wheeled Chevy “Donks”," 21 May 2018 But viewers of their music video for the song, which Teen Vogue is premiering, might not pick up on automobile troubles right away — which was totally intentional. Here's the backstory to the song. Gabe Bergado, Teen Vogue, "Weathers "1983" Music Video Will Make You Nostalgic for Your Car From High School," 3 May 2018 Here's the backstory of each property: Although the four-level Art Deco house was built eight decades after the style's American heyday, architectural and design features mirror the exuberant post-WWI era, inside and out. Janet Eastman,, "Gardenburger founder's fabled Art Deco house sells; rent it on AirBnB (photos)," 9 Apr. 2018 The backstory is that the Travis County district attorney, a Democrat who runs the unit, would not step down after Perry asked her to, following her 2013 arrest for drunken driving. Newsweek, "August 29 Issue," 29 Aug. 2017 This is the backstory to every drug pricing scandal in memory. Alexander Zaitchik, The New Republic, "How Big Pharma Was Captured by the One Percent," 28 June 2018

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

12 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for backstory

The first known use of backstory was in 1982

See more words from the same year

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).


playful or foolish behavior

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Autumn Words of the Day 2018

  • a-top-down-image-of-road-through-an-autumn-forest
  • Which is a synonym of fugacious?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


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!