play·​back | \ ˈplā-ˌbak How to pronounce playback (audio) \

Definition of playback

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an act or instance of reproducing recorded sound or pictures often immediately after recording

play back

played back; playing back; plays back

Definition of play back (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to perform a playback of (a usually recently recorded disc or tape)

Examples of playback in a Sentence


The band listened to a playback of their first recording.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Before the deadlock, the panel examined the photos again and spent hours listening to a playback of portions of testimony from Strolla and the woman. Marc Freeman,, "Foot doctor convicted of voyeurism; mistrial on rape charges," 16 Sep. 2019 Huawei promises four hours of playback in a single charge or 20 hours when used with the charging case. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "The Best Tech From IFA 2019," 10 Sep. 2019 Buttons for music playback will appeal to Android users., "Best wireless headphones for making calls," 6 Sep. 2019 Premium subscribers can already download tracks, albums and entire playlists for offline playback. Tatiana Cirisano, Billboard, "YouTube Music Revamps Offline Listening With Automatic 'Smart Downloads'," 27 June 2019 Physical buttons for music playback control will appeal to Android users., "CNET: The best-sounding true wireless headphones of 2019," 25 July 2019 Labels must either continually retransfer their archives or maintain outdated playback equipment. New York Times, "The Day the Music Burned," 11 June 2019 Microsoft estimates that the LTE model has marginally lower battery life than the Wi-Fi version, quoting 8.5 hours of video playback for the LTE model, in contrast to 9 hours for the Wi-Fi version. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "Surface Go with integrated LTE available for preorder now, from $679," 12 Nov. 2018 The only real granularity comes in the ability to control the speed of playback, with literally 16 speeds to choose from ranging from half to double-time. Brian Barrett, WIRED, "Google's New Podcast App Could Turbocharge the Industry," 19 June 2018

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


1929, in the meaning defined above


1949, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for playback

Last Updated

24 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for playback

The first known use of playback was in 1929

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More Definitions for playback



English Language Learners Definition of playback

: the act of causing recorded sounds or pictures to be heard or seen again
: a recording that is heard or seen again : a recording that is played back

More from Merriam-Webster on playback

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with playback

Nglish: Translation of playback for Spanish Speakers

Comments on playback

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


to wander slowly or to speak indistinctly

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