fall·​back | \ ˈfȯl-ˌbak How to pronounce fallback (audio) \

Definition of fallback

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

fall back

fell back; fallen back; falling back; falls 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

Antonyms: Verb

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Examples of fallback in a Sentence

Verb resistance from native forces was greater than expected, and the invading army was forced to fall back
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun That might seem to leave his defenders with only one cogent fallback: Mr Trump’s suspicions against Hunter Biden and Ukrainian election-hackers, however sketchily based, were sincere enough to warrant his pressure on Mr Zelensky. The Economist, "They were all in on it Gordon Sondland weakens Republican defences against impeachment," 21 Nov. 2019 While white is always a neutral fallback, beige was favored in the early 2000s. Elizabeth Mayhew, Washington Post, "Ready for the new neutral room color? It’s black.," 12 Nov. 2019 Shanahan, who mentioned reserve lineman Daniel Brunskill as a fallback option, said having right tackle Mike McGlinchey swap sides isn’t something the team is interested in doing. Jon Becker, The Mercury News, "Top things we learned at 49ers HQ with Steelers game looming," 17 Sep. 2019 Recruits are allowed to sign multiple letters of intent, and sometimes quietly sign with both a Power 5 conference program and junior college program when there’s a possible grade issue as a fallback. oregonlive, "Charles Moore, Auburn freshman DL transfer and nation’s No. 6 DE, joins Oregon State Beavers," 7 Nov. 2019 With Elizabeth Warren and even Joe Biden now calling for impeachment, Democrats will not have that as a fallback option. Dan Mclaughlin, National Review, "You Can’t Ignore Politics in Impeachment," 11 Oct. 2019 But as a fallback, the company unveiled its HarmonyOS operating system in August and said Android phones can be switched to the new system in days if necessary. Washington Post, "Facing US ban, Huawei emerging as stronger tech competitor," 17 Sep. 2019 As a protein fallback, there were always warm nuts in the bar, part of a daylong panoply of food and drink. Los Angeles Times, "On Canada’s Via Rail, a return to the older — and let’s be honest, better — way of traveling," 17 Aug. 2019 In 2010, the Angels went so hard after outfielder Carl Crawford that their fallback option turned out to be trading for Vernon Wells and his $86-million contract, and giving up slugging catcher Mike Napoli to do it. Bill Shaikin, Los Angeles Times, "Column: GM Billy Eppler has one year to turn Angels into a winner after four losing ones," 7 Sep. 2019

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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Time Traveler for fallback

Time Traveler

The first known use of fallback was in 1607

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Statistics for fallback

Last Updated

25 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Fallback.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fallback?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=f&file=fallba01. Accessed 6 December 2019.

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with fallback

Comments on fallback

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


very cautious or careful

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