Definition of backward-compatible in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˌbakwərdkəmˈpadəb(ə)l/
(also backwards-compatible)


(Of computer hardware or software) able to be used with an older piece of hardware or software without special adaptation or modification.
Example sentences
  • The new specification is backward-compatible with FireWire 400, though it will need a special adapter to connect.
  • All of the major tape suppliers have committed to standards and backward-compatible roadmaps that will ensure devices and software will be available that can read the tapes that are created today.
  • Technically the only thing harder than making a new optical storage device is making it backward-compatible with something else.


backward compatibility

Example sentences
  • Among its various benefits, the patch breaks the backward compatibility of the user interface.
  • The need to consider backward compatibility, with various operating systems, printers, and monitors, has now come to application design and development.
  • This allows programmers to make improvements to the standard while retaining backward compatibility with earlier iterations.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: back·ward-com·pat·i·ble

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.