something that fills the place of something else that is lacking; temporary substitute; makeshift: Candles are a stopgap when the electricity fails.


makeshift: This is only a stopgap solution.

Origin of stopgap

First recorded in 1525–35; noun, adj. use of verb phrase stop a gap

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

Examples from the Web for stopgap

Contemporary Examples of stopgap

Historical Examples of stopgap

  • She was going as a stopgap to speak at a large meeting to oblige Angelica.

    The Beth Book

    Sarah Grand

  • The stopgap was such that it must remain as it was; and every further effort was useless.

  • Because Brownlee knows why I'm looking for a cure to replace the stopgap.

    Nor Iron Bars a Cage....

    Gordon Randall Garrett

  • But he knew that they were only a stopgap, only a temporarily shoring of a constantly-eroding dam.

    The Dueling Machine

    Benjamin William Bova

  • It's a stopgap effort, just to keep things moving until Project Sea-Dredge starts functioning.

    The Hunted Heroes

    Robert Silverberg

British Dictionary definitions for stopgap



  1. a temporary substitute for something else
  2. (as modifier)a stopgap programme
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 stopgap

1680s, from stop + gap.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper