play·​back | \ ˈplā-ˌbak \

Definition of playback

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

play 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

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 The battery lasts for up to 4 hours for audio playback, and the clamshell case holds three additional charges. Chris Welch, The Verge, "Sony’s futuristic earbuds are a pain in the present," 29 June 2018 The Video playback setting now includes a control to adjust the video based upon lighting. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Windows 10's big Insider build showcases Skype, a font maker and Task Manager tweaks," 28 June 2018 The albums were transferred from the original analogue masters using the Plangent Process playback system. Mitchell Peters, Billboard, "Bruce Springsteen Releases from 1987-1996 Remastered for New Vinyl Box Set," 29 Mar. 2018 Our test team was able to get close to the advertised 20 hours of playback time on a single charge, which is exceptional in a speaker with this much output. Will Palmer, Outside Online, "The Best Portable Bluetooth Speakers," 29 May 2018 Except a large, unknown number of viewers couldn’t actually watch, encountering playback errors and endless buffering screens instead. Jacob Feldman,, "Inside Australia's World Cup 2018 Streaming Fail and What It Means for the U.S.," 21 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

15 Jan 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

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tremendous in size, volume, or degree

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