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back +‎ log. 1680s; originally a large log at the back of a fire. Figurative sense from 1880s, meaning "something stored up for later use". Possibly influenced by logbook as well.[1]


  • IPA(key): /ˈbæk.lɒɡ/
  • (file)


backlog (plural backlogs)

  1. A large log to burn at the back of a fire.
    • 1830, Joseph Plumb Martin, “Ch. V”, in A Narrative of Some of the Adventures, Dangers and Sufferings of a Revolutionary Soldier:
      While she was preparing my breakfast, I chopped off a backlog and put it on the fire, []
    • 1902, Barbara Baynton, edited by Sally Krimmer and Alan Lawson, Bush Studies (Portable Australian Authors: Barbara Baynton), St Lucia: University of Queensland Press, published 1980, page 31:
      He threw it on the fire for a back-log, first scraping the live coals and ashes to a heap for his damper.
  2. A reserve source or supply.
  3. An accumulation or buildup, especially of unfilled orders, unconsumed products or unfinished work.
    He went to work on Saturday to try to work through the backlog of papers on his desk.
    Kyle purchased a new one despite having a backlog of video games that he hasn't played.
    • 2020 November 18, Mike Brown tells Paul Stephen, “I wasn't going to let the Mayor down”, in Rail, page 45:
      With much of the building unrenovated since it was built in the 19th century, there is a significant backlog of repairs estimated to be in excess of £1bn.
  4. A log containing text previously read, as in text-based video games or chat rooms.



backlog (third-person singular simple present backlogs, present participle backlogging, simple past and past participle backlogged)

  1. (transitive, intransitive) To acquire something as a backlog, or to become a backlog



  1. ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2023), “backlog”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.




backlog m (plural backlogs)

  1. backlog