a wall, wire screen, or the like, serving to prevent a ball from going too far beyond the normal playing area.
Baseball. the catcher.
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.

to act as a backstop.

verb (used with object), back·stopped, back·stop·ping.

to act as a backstop to: The government agreed to backstop companies that invested in oil exploration.

Nearby words

  1. backstabber,
  2. backstage,
  3. backstairs,
  4. backstay,
  5. backstitch,
  6. backstory,
  7. backstrap loom,
  8. backstreet,
  9. backstretch,
  10. backstroke

Origin of backstop

First recorded in 1810–20; back1 + stop

Related formsback·stop·per, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for backstopper



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

verb -stops, -stopping or -stopped (tr)

US to provide with backing or support
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 backstopper



1819, in cricket, from back (adj.) + stop. In U.S. baseball, from 1889, "fence behind the catcher;" figurative extension to "catcher on a baseball team" is from 1890. The verb is attested from 1956 in the sense of "support." Related: Backstopped; backstopping.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper