View synonyms for backstop


[ bak-stop ]


  1. a wall, wire screen, or the like, serving to prevent a ball from going too far beyond the normal playing area.
  2. Baseball. the catcher.
  3. a person or thing that serves as a support, safeguard, or reinforcement:

    There were technicians on board as backstops to the automated controls.

verb (used without object)

, back·stopped, back·stop·ping.
  1. to act as a backstop.

verb (used with object)

, back·stopped, back·stop·ping.
  1. to act as a backstop to:

    The government agreed to backstop companies that invested in oil exploration.


/ ˈbækˌstɒp /


  1. sport a screen or fence to prevent balls leaving the playing area
  2. a block or catch to prevent excessive backward movement, such as one on the sliding seat of a rowing boat


  1. to provide with backing or support

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Other Words From

  • backstopper noun

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Word History and Origins

Origin of backstop1

First recorded in 1810–20; back 1 + stop

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Example Sentences

California’s offsets are considered additional carbon reductions because the floor serves “as a conservative backstop,” Clegern said.

Credits in the pool can never be sold, but act as a kind of backstop in case of wildfires, drought and other events.

Instead, it calls on government to act as a backstop through incentives that will lead to job creation and provide greater access to the safety net while expanding things like universal pre-kindergarten and childcare.

It paid for a backstop and dugouts at a neighborhood Little League field.

The government is going to be putting a backstop on certain parts of the economy.

From Time

On the other, you risk ballooning one into the backstop in front of 50,000 people.

After the corporate split, the paper will no longer have blockbuster movies to backstop it.

It could serve as a backstop for Mitt, bringing him over the top at the last possible moment.

And Perry thinks TARP was a total mistake—along with all subsequent efforts to backstop or stimulate the economy.

She was out of the cell before it hit the backstop and following me down the hall towards her brother's room.

Each time one sailed away over the backstop, it was like the pop of a safety-valve; it averted an explosion.

The backstop was built up of earth and was soft enough so that the pins would not splinter on striking it.

He began to turn its center dial, at first a quarter circle, and then all the way to the final backstop of the calibration.

Finally, the tenth shot smacked against the backstop and he racked his weapon and punched at the target return button.