Definition of backstop in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈbakstäp/


1A person or thing placed at the rear of or behind something as a barrier, support, or reinforcement: bullets volleyed into the backstop of a flood-control canal
More example sentences
  • You don't need the Library of Congress to build a bookshelf that can also serve as a backstop or a cover point.
  • Keep the muzzle pointed at a backstop which would stop a bullet without endangering anyone.
  • The main difference between the two is that bocce is played on a hard surface court with a backstop at each end.
1.1 Baseball A high fence or similar structure behind the home plate area.
Example sentences
  • Taylor didn't chase after the ball which rolled to the backstop behind home plate.
  • We'd stand at home plate facing the backstop, and he'd give us five pitches per turn.
  • It rained so hard the stream near the baseball field behind the backstop rose high enough to cover home plate!
1.2 Baseball , informal A catcher: he tore the chest protector completely off the big Yankee backstop
More example sentences
  • I was backstop at rounders and had to retrieve the ball from a nearby horses' field.
  • Behind every pitcher who shuts down the opposition is a backstop who quietly endures nine heart-pounding innings
  • Nonetheless, several young backstops enhanced their career potentials in 2002 by doing creditable jobs.
1.3An emergency precaution or last resort: the human operator has to act as the ultimate backstop when things go badly wrong
More example sentences
  • This makes directors the ultimate personal backstop for some of the corporations' unpaid wages-as well as for unpaid taxes, including unremitted employee deductions.
  • While torture is non-existent in New Zealand, and cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment very rare, it is always good to have a backstop to make sure we stick to our ideals.
  • On the other hand, the people who are creating the messages may simply not be relying on effective backstops to check their copy before it is distributed.


[with object]
1 Baseball Act as backstop for.
Example sentences
  • And oh, by the way, he has backstopped the Rangers to their first playoff appearance after a seven-season sabbatical.
  • He has backstopped his team to the lead in the race for the Jennings Trophy, awarded for fewest goals against.
  • He has the game and the make up to again backstop this team deep into the post-season - possibly to the Cup title this time.
1.1 Hockey Act as goaltender for.
Example sentences
  • Further back, the most recent Montreal Stanley Cup champion, in 1993, was backstopped by Patrick Roy.
  • In June 2002, Hasek backstopped the Red Wings to hockey's version of the Holy Grail.
  • In April he backstopped the Ile des Chenes North Stars to the Allan Cup National Senior Hockey Championship.
1.2Support or reinforce: the founding banks were backstopping the loans
More example sentences
  • It looks to me like the corporation was backstopping everything with respect to these investments.
  • He went on to point out that as oil traders know they will be backstopped by purchases for the SPR, they can ‘keep betting on higher prices by buying contracts with impunity.’
  • To make sure there is enough in the coffers to pay for a worst-case scenario, the state was forced to create its own catastrophe fund, to backstop insurance companies.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: back·stop

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