Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Material used to refill an excavated area.
  • transitive v. To refill (an excavated area) with such material.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To refill a hole with the material dug out of it.
  • v. To refill an excavation unit to restore the former ground surface and or to preserve the unit and make it recognizable as having been excavated.
  • v. To provide reserve support.
  • v. To replenish or restock due to attrition or loss.
  • n. The material that has been used to refill an excavation.
  • n. Reserve support personnel.
  • n. That which backfills; a replacement.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • In engineering, to fill (a depression) with material taken from a cutting.

Etymologies

From back +‎ fill. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Another performance enhancing "substance" has been less publicly discussed but perhaps just as important, if not more, and that is known as backfill bias.

    The Globe and Mail - Home RSS feed

  • Leggett says there is no cost because the agreement says that no overtime can be paid to "backfill" for employees who take the leave.

    In giving 117 years of comp time, Montgomery official hopes to heal budget wounds

  • First Shahina would have to make her way through Mellaart’s backfill, that is, the earth that he had used to bury and protect his excavations in hopes that he would be back one day.

    The Goddess and the Bull

  • The state would help "backfill" expenses that smaller districts can't afford.

    Denver Post: News: Breaking: Local

  • O'Brien said the funds are not meant to "backfill" district cuts.

    Denver Post: News: Breaking: Local

  • The money saved from paying veteran teachers could help "backfill" the budget, Tarwater said.

    Tahoe Daily Tribune - Top Stories

  • Regent Michael Wixom of Las Vegas said he is against raising tuition and fees to "backfill" higher education's budget cuts and that shift the financial burden from the state to the students without failing to address long-term economic problems.

    RGJ.com - Latest News

  • Several lawmakers warned that Chinese firms would eagerly "backfill" the investment gaps left by Western firms pulling out of Iran if the robust new sanctions regime was not imposed in an even-handed manner.

    Yahoo! News: Business - Opinion

  • Though the federal stimulus included funds meant to help states stabilize their budgets, the Kanawha County Republican criticized Manchin's plans to "backfill" some cuts with part of West Virginia's share.

    The Charleston Gazette -

  • Leaders elected to "backfill" a roughly $1.2 million hole in the budget for the current fiscal year with revenues from Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino.

    DesMoinesRegister.com - NEWS

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