fall·​back | \ ˈfȯl-ˌbak \

Definition of fallback

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : something on which one can fall back : reserve often used attributively a fallback careera fallback position
2 : a falling back : retreat
3 : something that falls back the fallback from an explosion

fall back


Definition of fall back (Entry 2 of 2)

fall back on or fall back upon
: to have recourse to had to fall back on their reserves

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Synonyms & Antonyms for fallback

Synonyms: Verb

back away, drop back, pull out, recede, retire, retreat, withdraw

Antonyms: Verb


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Examples of fallback in a Sentence


resistance from native forces was greater than expected, and the invading army was forced to fall back

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In both of the midterms during his time—in 2010 and 2014—the decline in Democratic turnout was about 40% from the prior presidential election, compared with fallbacks of 14% and 32% for Republicans in the same years. Gerald F. Seib, WSJ, "Democrats’ To-Do List: Translate Anger Into Actual Votes," 17 Sep. 2018 In a year when people of color dominated critics' hearts and the box office, Hollywood gatekeepers continue to shun award-worthy performances in favor of old (read: white) fallbacks. Julie Kosin, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Screen Actors Guild Nominated Just One Woman of Color for an Individual Acting Award," 12 Dec. 2018 That fallback has already enraged both the DUP and Brexit hard-liners in Mrs. May’s own party. Max Colchester, WSJ, "Now the Hard Part: Getting the Brexit Deal Through Parliament," 19 Nov. 2018 The seizure meant that the primary and secondary means to deliver stages 2 and 3 had been dismantled, leaving only a third fallback, which relied on attackers sending special packets to each infected device. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "FBI tells router users to reboot now to kill malware infecting 500k devices," 25 May 2018 The European Union has bolstered its own security cooperation, creating an embryonic fallback if NATO fails, for instance. Michael Birnbaum, Washington Post, "Ahead of NATO summit, allies wonder: Will NATO survive Trump?," 8 July 2018 However, Morton makes for an excellent fallback option. Mike Barner, SI.com, "MLB DFS Plays for May 18," 18 May 2018 The Orioles undertook this knowing Yacabonis still had relieving as a fallback option. Jon Meoli, baltimoresun.com, "Jimmy Yacabonis' first start Thursday a reward for Orioles' unconventional commitment to transition," 28 June 2018 However, the bond proposal is being kept alive as a possible fallback. Michael Smolens, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Progress is hard to come by in San Diego's fight against homelessness," 22 June 2018

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


1830, in the meaning defined at sense 2


1607, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for fallback

Last Updated

21 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for fallback

The first known use of fallback was in 1607

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with fallback

Comments on fallback

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a servile follower or underling

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