[bak-lawg, -log]


a reserve or accumulation, as of stock, work, or business: a backlog of business orders.
a large log at the back of a hearth to keep up a fire.Compare forestick.

verb (used with object), back·logged, back·log·ging.

to hold in reserve, as for future handling or repair.
to enter and acknowledge (an order) for future shipment.

verb (used without object), back·logged, back·log·ging.

to accumulate in a backlog: Orders are starting to backlog faster than we can process them.

Origin of backlog

First recorded in 1675–85; back1 + log1

Synonyms for backlog Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for backlog

Contemporary Examples of backlog

Historical Examples of backlog

  • Another ten thousand without horses, who formed a backlog of reserves.

    Ride Proud, Rebel!

    Andre Alice Norton

  • When he got it back at last, he eagerly downloaded his backlog of mail.


    Cory Doctorow

  • The fire had burned out, save the backlog which still glowed.

  • I felt that there was no other token of decay so impressive as that bed of weeds in the place of the backlog.

  • The next thing she did was to rake back the red embers, and make a hollow place among them, just where the backlog had been.

    Tanglewood Tales

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

British Dictionary definitions for backlog



an accumulation of uncompleted work, unsold stock, etc, to be dealt with
mainly US and Canadian a large log at the back of a fireplace
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

Word Origin and History for backlog

1680s, "large log placed at the back of a fire," from back (adj.) + log (n.1). Figurative sense of "something stored up for later use" is first attested 1883, but this and the meaning "arrears of unfulfilled orders" (1932) might be from, or suggested by, log (n.2).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper