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backup

[bak-uhp]
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noun
  1. a person or thing that supports or reinforces another.
  2. a musician or singer or group of musicians or singers accompanying a soloist: a singer with a three-man backup that plays cello, bass, and guitar.
  3. an overflow or accumulation due to stoppage, malfunctioning, etc.: a sewage backup; a backup of cars at the tollbooth.
  4. a person, plan, device, etc., kept in reserve to serve as a substitute, if needed.
  5. Computers.
    1. a copy or duplicate version, especially of a file, program, or entire computer system, retained for use in the event that the original is in some way rendered unusable.
    2. a procedure to follow in such an event.
  6. Bowling. a ball that curves in a direction corresponding to the bowling hand of the bowler.
adjective
  1. (of a person, plan, device, etc.) held in reserve as a substitute if needed: a backup driver; a backup generator.
  2. performing a secondary or supporting function: A drummer and guitarist are the singer's backup musicians.

Origin of backup

1775–85, Americanism; noun use of verb phrase back up
Can be confusedback up backup

Usage note

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Word Origin and History for backup

see back up.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper