Definitions

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

  • n. A reserve or substitute.
  • n. Computer Science A copy of a program or file that is stored separately from the original.
  • n. Support or backing.
  • n. Music A background accompaniment, as for a performer.
  • n. An overflow or accumulation caused by clogging or by a stoppage: a backup in the sink; a backup of traffic at the drawbridge.
  • adj. Extra; standby: a backup pilot.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A reserve or substitute.
  • n. A copy of a file or record, stored separately from the original, that can be used to recover the original if it is destroyed or damaged.
  • n. An accumulation of material that halts the flow or movement of something.
  • n. reinforcements
  • adj. standby, reserve or extra
  • adj. That is intended as a backup.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. anything kept in reserve to serve as a substitute in case of failure or unavailability of the normal or primary object; -- used for devices, plans, people, etc. Also used attributively.
  • n. a musician or group of musicians accompanying a soloist, whether vocalists or instrumentalists.
  • n. a person or group of persons serving as reinforcement for another or others.
  • n. an accumulation, overflow, or reverse flow (in traffic or a liquid flow system) caused by a stoppage or other malfunction.
  • n. A copy of a program or data from a computer onto a data-storage medium, usually one that may be removed to safe storage at a distance from the computer; it is used to preserve data for use in the contingency that the original data on the computer may be lost or become unusable. A backup that is removed from the building housing the computer system (to provide protection against loss of data in a disastrous event such as a fire) is called off-site backup. Also used attributively.
  • n. The act or process of creating a backup{5}.

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

  • n. a musical part (vocal or instrumental) that supports or provides background for other musical parts
  • n. an accumulation caused by clogging or a stoppage
  • n. (computer science) a copy of a file or directory on a separate storage device
  • n. the act of providing approval and support
  • n. someone who takes the place of another (as when things get dangerous or difficult)

Etymologies

back +‎ up (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • a 'backup' in computer science also refers to making a copy of a user's entire hard drive. "Fortunately, I made a backup last night before the crash."

    June 28, 2009