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


expedient, makeshift

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

Now, the city is turning again to stopgap measures while streamlining approvals to speed up construction of permanent housing. Gale Holland,, "Why L.A. County’s homelessness crisis has been decades in the making," 5 June 2019 Democrats joined all but two Republicans in voting for the stopgap measures. Jeremy Pelzer,, "Ohio lawmakers miss deadline to pass new state budget: Capitol Letter," 1 July 2019 So there was no reason to think that Lionel Scaloni, whose stint as caretaker coach, intended initially as a stopgap after Sampaoli’s departure and was extended through Copa America, would suddenly find a magic formula. Jonathan Wilson,, "How Has it Come to This for Argentina?," 22 June 2019 The dongle was always meant as a stopgap while customers adjusted to the new, headphone jack-less reality that Apple imposed on the world. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "Apple’s 2018 iPhones are rumored to not include headphone dongle in the box," 3 Aug. 2018 The stopgap measures still require users to be vigilant about their settings. Sidney Fussell, The Atlantic, "More Privacy Still Isn’t Privacy," 4 June 2019 The stopgap deal promises relief for about 800,000 federal workers, who have been furloughed or working without pay. Ezequiel Minaya, WSJ, "Companies Fear Uncertainty Even as Government Reopens," 28 Jan. 2019 Rather than commit long-term to yet another young player, inking Ariza to a one-year deal looks like an intelligent stopgap: the Suns now have $40 million in expiring contracts, including Chandler, Dudley and Troy Daniels. Jeremy Woo,, "Grades: Suns Maintain Long-Term Flexibility With Locker Room Addition of Trevor Ariza," 1 July 2018 Firefighters were working out of a single-wide trailer onsite because the old station had fallen out of code, and library staff was making stopgap repairs to its building. Daily Pilot Staff,, "Newport breaks ground on Corona del Mar 'fibrary'," 25 Apr. 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.

See More

First Known Use of stopgap

1684, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about stopgap

Statistics for stopgap

Last Updated

12 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for stopgap

The first known use of stopgap was in 1684

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on stopgap

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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).


marked by turns or indirection

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

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!