back number

See synonyms for back number on
  1. an out-of-date issue of a serial publication.

  2. Informal. anything out-of-date.

Origin of back number

An Americanism dating back to 1805–15

Words Nearby back number Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use back number in a sentence

  • Richard, a back number of my unsavory career has turned up to deprive me of my appetite and blight my being.

  • I wish tasteless, conventional, and machine-made architecture were as much of a "back-number" in England as it is here.

  • He rails at conditions instead of changing them, and eventually he finds himself shelfed and shunned as a back number.

    Think | Col. Wm. C. Hunter
  • When a man begins shaking his head over the news of the day, he is done for; a back number.

    The Book of Susan | Lee Wilson Dodd
  • Susan never shakes her head; and it's rather hard on her, I think, to be the wife of a back number.

    The Book of Susan | Lee Wilson Dodd

British Dictionary definitions for back number

back number

  1. an issue of a newspaper, magazine, etc, that appeared on a previous date

  2. informal a person or thing considered to be old-fashioned

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Other Idioms and Phrases with back number

back number

Dated, out of style. For example, That hat is really a back number, or The game has changed so fast that a player who returns to the circuit after several years' absence usually finds he or she is a back number. This term originally referred to back issues of periodicals, which are no longer newsworthy. [Late 1800s]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.