noun, often attributive
stop·​gap | \ ˈstäp-ˌgap How to pronounce stopgap (audio) \

Definition of stopgap

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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for stopgap


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 Without a stopgap measure, Americans could see a decline in income of $18 billion per week, according to Bank of America economists Michelle Meyer and Stephen Juneau. Julia Horowitz, CNN, "Stimulus talks have stalled. But the pressure to act is rising," 2 Aug. 2020 Lawmakers have failed this week to reach a compromise, even over a simple stopgap measure to allow more time to hammer out a long-term deal. Tom Benning, Dallas News, "‘You’re not thinking about us’: 1.8 million unemployed Texans fret about losing $600 weekly boost from Congress," 31 July 2020 Indeed, some families are forced to use inpatient psychiatric hospitalization as a stopgap measure for kids who need immediate care but can’t access it from an outpatient provider. Nicole Roder, Washington Post, "Our mental health system is failing my son. So I asked experts how to fix it.," 9 July 2020 While short-term stopgap measures such as the government’s furlough scheme have helped, in a recession, young workers are likely to face wage stagnation. Annabelle Timsit, Quartz, "2008 vs 2020: What to expect for Britons graduating into the Covid-19 recession," 9 July 2020 But the Department of State has developed a stopgap measure, which is an adaptation of the absentee ballots used by military members overseas, the filing said. Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press, "Blind voters say secretary of state broke promise about accessible absentee ballots," 29 June 2020 The effort has been headquartered out of the garage of Nuala O’Doherty-Naranjo – a community organizer running for New York state legislature – as a stopgap for New Yorkers when city services aren’t enough. Sarah Matusek, The Christian Science Monitor, "In Queens, residents become the coronavirus safety net," 22 June 2020 That will provide a stopgap until new developer apps are written for the ARM platform. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Apple drops Intel: Transition to ARM processors in Macs will start later in 2020," 22 June 2020 Fundamentally, the Eurogroup was a stopgap, a way of papering over the cracks inherent in a monetary union without fiscal transfers. The Economist, "Charlemagne How a dining club briefly took over the EU," 20 June 2020

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.

See More

First Known Use of stopgap

1684, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about stopgap

Time Traveler for stopgap

Time Traveler

The first known use of stopgap was in 1684

See more words from the same year

Statistics for stopgap

Last Updated

5 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Stopgap.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Aug. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for stopgap


How to pronounce stopgap (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on stopgap

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for stopgap

Spanish Central: Translation of stopgap

Nglish: Translation of stopgap for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of stopgap for Arabic Speakers

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt painting a young scholar and his tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!