backup

1 of 2

noun

back·​up ˈbak-ˌəp How to pronounce backup (audio)
often attributive
1
a
: one that serves as a substitute or support
I brought an extra pencil for backup.
a backup plan
b
: musical accompaniment
The tunes include banjo and guitar backup.
c
: additional personnel who provide assistance
The police officer called for backup.
2
: an accumulation caused by a stoppage in the flow
traffic backup
3
: a copy of computer data (such as a file or the contents of a hard drive)
I made a backup copy of the file.
also : the act or an instance of making a backup

back up

2 of 2

verb

backed up; backing up; backing up

intransitive verb

: to accumulate in a congested state
traffic backed up for miles

transitive verb

1
: to move into a position behind (a teammate) in order to assist on a play
2
3
: to make a copy of (a computer file or data) to protect against accidental loss or corruption
Be sure to back up your work.
also : to make copies of all the files on (a device)
a program that automatically backs up your hard drive

Examples of backup in a Sentence

Noun His role on the team is to be a backup to the regular quarterback. We have an extra radio as a backup in case this one doesn't work. We have an extra radio for backup. He provides backup for the regular quarterback. She sang backup on his CD.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
The backup: Andy Dalton — The longtime NFL signal-caller has been a shoulder for Young to lean on through the early days of his career. Mike Kaye, Charlotte Observer, 11 July 2024 In 2023-24, the 6-foot-9 big man finally graduated into a role as Embiid's primary backup. Aron Solomon, Newsweek, 10 July 2024
Verb
Bill Ackman, for example, has spent his career taking positions in public companies, backed up by research and reasoned arguments. Kathryn Preston, Fortune, 15 July 2024 The theft occurred around 3:30 a.m. at a home on Main Street, where video surveillance showed a pickup truck back up into the driveway and stop near several jet skis on a grassy area, according to the Rocky Hill Police Department. Justin Muszynski, Hartford Courant, 11 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for backup 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'backup.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

Noun

1910, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1801, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of backup was in 1801

Dictionary Entries Near backup

Cite this Entry

“Backup.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/backup. Accessed 20 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

backup

1 of 2 noun
back·​up ˈbak-ˌəp How to pronounce backup (audio)
1
: a person or thing that takes the place of or supports another
has a backup in case he gets sick
2
: a gathering or piling up because the flow has been stopped
a traffic backup
3
: a copy of a computer file to protect against loss of data
also : the act or an instance of making a backup

back up

2 of 2 verb
1
: to gather or pile up because the flow has been stopped
traffic backed up for miles
2
: to make a copy of (as a computer file) to protect against loss of data

More from Merriam-Webster on backup

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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