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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]



backlog ‎(plural backlogs)

  1. An accumulation or buildup, especially of unfilled orders or unfinished work.
    He went to work on Saturday to try to work through the backlog of papers on his desk.
  2. (video games) In visual novels, a log containing text previously read.
  3. A reserve source or supply.
  4. A large log to burn at the back of a fire.
    • 1830, Joseph Plumb Martin, A Narrative of Some of the Adventures, Dangers and Sufferings of a Revolutionary Soldier, Ch. V:
      While she was preparing my breakfast, I chopped off a backlog and put it on the fire, []



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. ^ backlog” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary (2001).