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

  • n. Sports A screen or fence used to prevent a ball from being thrown or hit far out of a playing area, as in baseball.
  • n. Baseball A catcher.
  • n. Something that supports or bolsters.
  • transitive v. To serve as a backstop for.
  • transitive v. To support or bolster: "The firm lacks a topflight strategic-consulting arm to backstop its technology gurusā€ ( Alex Beam).
  • transitive v. To substitute for (another) in an emergency.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A device that prevents railroad cars from rolling off a railroad track.
  • n. A wall behind home plate.
  • n. A catcher; the position of catcher
  • v. To serve as backstop for.
  • v. To bolster.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. In baseball, a fence, prop. at least 90 feet behind the home base, to stop the balls that pass the catcher; also, the catcher himself.
  • n. In rounders, the player who stands immediately behind the striking base.
  • n. In cricket, the longstop; also, the wicket keeper.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In base-ball, a fence placed a short distance behind the catcher to stop the ball if he fails to catch it.
  • n. In base-ball, the catcher. See def. 1.
  • n. A stop or pawl designed to check the backward movement of a wheel; a detent.

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

  • v. act as a backstop
  • n. (baseball) a fence or screen (as behind home plate) to prevent the ball from traveling out of the playing field
  • n. (baseball) the person who plays the position of catcher
  • n. a precaution in case of an emergency


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • But there are many farm fields around me where my backstop is a mile from the nearest road, and for those thinking they don't have access think again.

    Useful? You Bet Your R.A.S.S.

  • If you are having trouble finding a range in your area and you live in the country you can build your own backstop by mounding up a dirt pile about 4 feet high and 6 feet long and shoot into that, just make sure the area behind the backstop is safe.

    21 yr old female - Just Starting Out

  • I agree with KJ, a few footpounds of energy dumped on a backstop is okay!

    Where the Metal Meets the Meat

  • Also, it should be noted that this approach of import-allowance-requirements is included as a long-term backstop in Waxman-Markey if the president determines by 2022 that the output-based allocation mechanism is insufficient for some of the energy-intensive trade-sensitive sectors (and if a number of stringent conditions are met; see the "International Reserve Allowance Program" in the bill).

    Robert Stavins: Worried About International Competitiveness? Another Look at the Waxman-Markey Cap-and-Trade Proposal

  • The big backstop is below average behind the plate but not bad with the bat.

    USA TODAY Latest news

  • And, the long-term backstop for domestic shortfalls - demand for exports have plunged sending the trade balance into a record deficit.

    Currency Trading News by DailyFX

  • That is more like it, the Government acting as a short term backstop, in and out as quickly as possible leaving ingenuity and private surplus funds to do what they do best.

    An Englishman's Castle

  • Huntsman family shareholders Monday also have agreed to make a cash payment to the so-called backstop payment of at least $416.5 million.

    Huntsman Holders

  • Another quirk the Twins are getting used to at Target Field is the backstop, which is also limestone and sits just 46 feet from home plate, creating some lightning-quick bounces back to the catcher. Local News

  • The backstop is a huge problem; it is way too small.

    Columnist: Stephen Miller


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