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

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An accumulation or buildup, especially of unfilled orders or unfinished work
  • n. A reserve source or supply
  • v. To acquire something as a backlog, or to become a backlog

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

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

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

  • n. the large log at the back of a hearth fire
  • n. something kept back or saved for future use or a special purpose
  • v. accumulate and create a backlog
  • n. 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)


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. (Wiktionary)



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  • 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