stop·​gap ˈstäp-ˌgap How to pronounce stopgap (audio)
often attributive
: something that serves as a temporary expedient : makeshift
stopgap measures
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 David Koechner, the comedian-actor-writer-producer rooted in improv, typically was a stopgap. Vahe Gregorian, Kansas City Star, 30 May 2024 Baltimore Public Media is bringing back and expanding the New/Next Film Festival, an event originally conceived as a stopgap measure until the troubled Maryland Film Festival could figure out its plans. Tony Roberts, Baltimore Sun, 20 Apr. 2024 The program is intended as the federal government’s stopgap measure to improve failing nursing homes before barring them from Medicare and Medicaid program, which is the main payer for most nursing homes. Ciara McCarthy, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 29 Mar. 2024 This is a typical, unrealistic stopgap measure when things go awry. John S. Tobey, Forbes, 28 Mar. 2024 See all Example Sentences for stopgap 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'stopgap.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1684, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of stopgap was in 1684

Dictionary Entries Near stopgap

Cite this Entry

“Stopgap.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


stop·​gap ˈstäp-ˌgap How to pronounce stopgap (audio)
: something that fills a gap : a temporary substitute

More from Merriam-Webster on stopgap

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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