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

Your device can be connected to the speaker from up to 30 feet away with four hours of playback time. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "Step Up Your Shower Game With This Waterproof Speaker That Doubles As a Beer Holder," 6 May 2019 No Parental controls: Yes 60 fps playback: Yes Sling TV remains the bargain option among the five most prominent streaming TV services. Chris Welch, The Verge, "The Verge Cord Cutter’s Guide: hardware, software, and services," 20 Dec. 2018 The device must compete with loud music playback from itself. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "Apple published a surprising amount of detail about how the HomePod works," 3 Dec. 2018 Related Stories The Power Max P18K Pop is, according to official specifications, 18mm or 7/10ths of an inch thick, storing a battery that can allegedly power two days of video playback and a standby time of up to 50 days. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "This Energizer Phone Is Thicker Than You Could Ever Want, and That's Fantastic," 26 Feb. 2019 It most recently released a programmable robot with LED lights and acquired Specdrums, presumably to bring some sort of music playback to its devices. Ashley Carman, The Verge, "Sphero discontinues its BB-8, R2-D2, and other licensed Disney products," 17 Dec. 2018 In 2018, 80% of listeners played at least half of each episode, down from 86% in 2017—and about one in five are listening at faster than normal playback speeds, according to Edison Research. Ellen Gamerman, WSJ, "Listen Up, This Podcast Will Just Take a Minute," 31 Dec. 2018 Certainly playing a game or a video encode, or anything that works the GPU or CPU cores hard will drain the battery faster, but video playback is actually among the easiest chores a laptop can do today. Gordon Mah Ung, PCWorld, "Dell XPS 13 vs. Dell XPS 15: Which should you buy?," 11 Sep. 2018 Now, high-definition video will be $2.99 per month, with 4K playback available for $9.99. Benjamin Mullin, WSJ, "Discovery Channel Founder Pivots After Hitting Ceiling for Cord-Cutter Bonanza," 2 Aug. 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

21 May 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

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