[ fawl-bak ]
See synonyms for fallback on Thesaurus.com
  1. an act or instance of falling back.

  2. something or someone to turn or return to, especially for help or as an alternative: His teaching experience would be a fallback if the business failed.

  1. Also fall-back . of or designating something kept in reserve or as an alternative: The negotiators agreed on a fallback position.

Origin of fallback

1750–60, Americanism; noun, adj. use of verb phrase fall back

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use fallback in a sentence

  • At last even Massna had to confess himself beaten and fall back on Santarem.

    Napoleon's Marshals | R. P. Dunn-Pattison
  • Either: we cannot give you what you ask, so fall back onto the defensive; or, go ahead, we will give you the means.

  • The next moment he understood what the last resource was the two men were going to fall back upon.

    Motor Matt's "Century" Run | Stanley R. Matthews
  • He may be in danger here, but there is almost certain ruin before him if he is left to fall back into his old way of life.

  • But after an obstinate and bloody conflict they were compelled to fall back with a loss of 1700 killed and 500 prisoners.

British Dictionary definitions for fall back

fall back

verb(intr, adverb)
  1. to recede or retreat

  2. (foll by on or upon) to have recourse (to)

  1. a retreat

  2. a reserve, esp money, that can be called upon in need

    • anything to which one can have recourse as a second choice

    • (as modifier): a fall-back position

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 fallback


Give ground, retreat, as in The troops fell back before the relentless enemy assault, or He stuck to his argument, refusing to fall back. [c. 1600]

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