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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for fallback

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 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 In that case, Georgia's most likely fallback would be to continue using its existing touchscreen machines for the spring primary election—and possibly even the November 2020 general election. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Judge orders Georgia to switch to paper ballots for 2020 elections," 16 Aug. 2019 Expect some fallback from that number, but there’s little doubt that Hockenson will be a focal point in the offense in 2019. oregonlive, "Fantasy football 2019: 10 sleepers at tight end," 4 Sep. 2019 Meanwhile, gig companies are also setting up a fallback. Josh Eidelson, Fortune, "New Labor Law Passed by California Senate Would Transform the Gig Economy—And Could Cost Uber $500 Million a Year," 11 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.

See More

First Known Use of fallback


1830, in the meaning defined at sense 2


1607, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about fallback

Statistics for fallback

Last Updated

11 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for fallback

The first known use of fallback was in 1607

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on fallback

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).


to spread as a report or rumor

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Confusing Words—A Quiz

  • alice with tweedle dee and tweedle dum
  • I invented a brand new toaster robot and ______ it "Sir Toasts-a-Lot."
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

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!