noun, often attributive
stop·​gap | \ˈstäp-ˌgap \

Definition of stopgap 

: something that serves as a temporary expedient : makeshift stopgap measures

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Synonyms for stopgap


expedient, makeshift

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Choose the Right Synonym for stopgap

resource, resort, expedient, shift, makeshift, stopgap mean something one turns to in the absence of the usual means or source of supply. resource and resort apply to anything one falls back upon. exhausted all of their resources a last resort expedient may apply to any device or contrivance used when the usual one is not at hand or not possible. a flimsy expedient shift implies a tentative or temporary imperfect expedient. desperate shifts to stave off foreclosure makeshift implies an inferior expedient adopted because of urgent need or allowed through indifference. old equipment employed as a makeshift stopgap applies to something used temporarily as an emergency measure. a new law intended only as a stopgap

Examples of stopgap in a Sentence

The new law is intended only as a stopgap. the coach we have now was only hired as a stopgap until someone with more experience is found

Recent Examples on the Web

As a stopgap, the Chinese government even enforced limits on its country’s steel output last year. Jonathan Schifman, Popular Mechanics, "The Entire History of Steel," 9 July 2018 Short-term plans were originally meant as a stopgap for consumers between plans. Lisa Schencker,, "Trump health plan change may ease insurance costs for some; critics fear it could weaken Obamacare," 19 June 2018 Klay was elated when Trayce hooked up early this season with the A’s, whose Coliseum home is a bounce pass from the Warriors’ digs, but Trayce lasted only three games as a stopgap with Oakland before being traded to the White Sox on April 19. John Shea, San Francisco Chronicle, "Trayce Thompson, Klay’s brother, seeks permanent baseball home," 2 June 2018 At just £18m, the Frenchman was seen by some as a mere stopgap at Stamford Bridge - a way in which to temporarily appease Antonio Conte's fervent desire for any kind of attacking reinforcement., "Why Olivier Giroud Can Be More Than Just a Stopgap at Chelsea," 9 May 2018 One solution would be to sell Taiwan the latest version of the F-16 and lease some used fighters as a stopgap. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "U.S. Fighters for Taiwan," 29 Apr. 2018 As a stopgap, the two states agreed last month that West Virginia would pay Maryland $1.5 million to extend service for another year. Colin Campbell,, "West Virginia will pay Maryland $1.5 million to keep MARC service for a year. Then what?," 28 Apr. 2018 The team signed shortstop Freddy Galvis to a one-year, $6.8 million deal and believes Carlos Asuaje and/or Cory Spangenberg, who are both having solid springs, will serve as a quality stopgap at second base. Kevin Acee,, "Fernando Tatis, Luis Urias sent down by Padres," 13 Mar. 2018 In hopes of ending the use of private apartments and hotel rooms as stopgaps, the Department of Homeless Services is expanding its shelter system under a plan to open 90 facilities over five years. Written By Nikita Stewart; Photographs By Sam Hodgson, New York Times, "Homelessness, Step by Step," 18 Feb. 2018

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

1684, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for stopgap

Last Updated

23 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for stopgap

The first known use of stopgap was in 1684

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More Definitions for stopgap



English Language Learners Definition of stopgap

: someone or something that is intended to be used for a short time and then replaced by someone or something better : a temporary substitute

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Comments on stopgap

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


playful or foolish behavior

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