1 of 2


fall·​back ˈfȯl-ˌbak How to pronounce fallback (audio)
: something on which one can fall back : reserve
often used attributively
a fallback careera fallback position
: a falling back : retreat
: something that falls back
the fallback from an explosion

fall back

2 of 2


fell back; fallen back; falling back; falls back
fall back on or fall back upon
: to have recourse to
had to fall back on their reserves

Example Sentences

Verb resistance from native forces was greater than expected, and the invading army was forced to fall back
Recent Examples on the Web
Jimmy Butler made the most Holiday's miss, hitting a fallback jumper that sent the game to overtime. Journal Sentinel, 27 Apr. 2023 In addition, Microsoft’s court order allows the company to take control of another 319 domains the botnet has been programmed to use as a fallback mechanism. Michael Kan, PCMAG, 13 Apr. 2022 The fallback valuation is very important to negotiate. Melinda Elmborg, Forbes, 12 Oct. 2021 Her career has been going so well that it’s been more than a year since she’s worked at her fallback occupation: dental hygienist. Rhoda Feng, New York Times, 23 Feb. 2023 Faced with a challenge, my fallback is usually honesty. Helena Andrews-dyer, Washington Post, 20 Jan. 2023 If there’s a fallback assumption that all major leaguers are somehow set for life, Varvaro disproved the notion, a mid-level draft pick who scratched and worked his way to the majors, received no huge signing bonuses or mega-million-dollar contracts. Tara Sullivan, BostonGlobe.com, 16 Sep. 2022 After that date, investors can opt to get their investment converted based on the fallback valuation (often called floor). Melinda Elmborg, Forbes, 12 Oct. 2021 Here’s a look at Miami’s top-five positions of need, and how the Dolphins could potentially address them with an ideal fit that might inspire trading up, a second-tier player that could eventually become a starter, and a fallback option available in Day 3. Omar Kelly, Sun Sentinel, 16 Apr. 2022
Does Vinnie Pasquantino progress or fall back? Daniel Kohn, SPIN, 29 Mar. 2023 All told, the Blazers would have a 31.6% chance of moving into the top three and a 55.6% chance of falling back. Afentres, oregonlive, 8 Apr. 2023 That makes sense, Black Knight said, considering that not only has the housing market seen a seasonal spring boost, but affordability seems to have improved just enough to get some buyers off the sideline, with mortgage rates falling back under 7% and national home prices declining somewhat. Lance Lambert, Fortune, 6 Apr. 2023 Temperatures remain very warm, only falling back into the 60s as winds remain a bit breezy from the south. Matt Rogers, Washington Post, 4 Apr. 2023 Making more music together, falling back in love? Maureen Lee Lenker, EW.com, 24 Mar. 2023 Most strikes will come as the lure falls back after the hop. Gerald Almy, Field & Stream, 20 Mar. 2023 Malcolm didn't hesitate to make a snorting sound, which made Mulaney laugh, falling back on the couch and bringing the toddler with him. Alexis Jones, Peoplemag, 9 Mar. 2023 Those prices reached a peak at the highest annual average to date of any president, before falling back down to the lowest level since Bush’s first term. Robert Rapier, Forbes, 8 Mar. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'fallback.' 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


1830, in the meaning defined at sense 2


1607, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of fallback was in 1607

Dictionary Entries Near fallback

Cite this Entry

“Fallback.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fallback. Accessed 4 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition

fall back

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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