from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A reserve supply or source.
  • noun An accumulation, especially of unfinished work or unfilled orders.
  • noun A large log at the back of a fire in a fireplace.
  • intransitive verb To acquire (something) as a backlog.
  • intransitive verb To become a backlog; accumulate.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A large log placed at the back of an open wood-fire to sustain combustion and concentrate the heat.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun U.S. A large stick of wood, forming the back of a fire on the hearth. Contrasted to forestick.
  • noun An accumulation (of tasks or of materials) that were not performed or processed at the normal time and require attention.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun An accumulation or buildup, especially of unfilled orders or unfinished work
  • noun A reserve source or supply
  • verb transitive, intransitive To acquire something as a backlog, or to become a backlog

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun the large log at the back of a hearth fire
  • noun something kept back or saved for future use or a special purpose
  • verb accumulate and create a backlog
  • noun an accumulation of jobs not done or materials not processed that are yet to be dealt with (especially unfilled customer orders for products or services)


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word backlog.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • They brought in the materials for an old-fashioned fire, backlog, forestick, and crowsticks, and presently seated themselves before a crackling blaze.

    --Sarah Orne Jewett, 1884, A Country Doctor

    January 28, 2010