Definition of back number in English:

back number

Syllabification: back num·ber


  • 1An issue of a periodical earlier than the current one.
    More example sentences
    • Also, partly moth-eaten back numbers of forgotten magazines of the 1950s or even earlier may catch your eye.
    • But when I last visited the shop, the owner directed me to a pile of back numbers of a journal that was neither dead nor Indian.
    • He had seen his exhibition advertised in a back number of the magazine and used one of his last two remaining postage stamps to send him photographs of his figures in pastel.
  • 1.1 informal A person or thing seen as old-fashioned.
    More example sentences
    • Though he showed flashes of the old brilliance, fashionable opinion increasingly considered him obsolete, a back number from a bygone era.
    • Not much past sixty, he began to regard and carry himself as an old man, not at all displeased to be considered a back number.
    • It would be stupid to write him off as a back number on the strength of that Kempton run alone.

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