Definition of back number in English:

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back number


1An issue of a periodical earlier than the current one.
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1.1 informal A person or thing seen as outdated or past their prime.
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.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: back num¦ber

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