I am looking for another way to say "back order" (see definition below). I think not many people understand what "back order" means and am looking for a more generally know word/phrase.

"Back order"

  • noun: back order; plural noun: back orders; noun: backorder; plural noun: backorders

    1. a retailer's order for a product which is temporarily out of stock with the supplier. "the phone I wanted was on back order"
  • verb: back order; 3rd person present: back orders; gerund or present participle: back ordering; past tense: back ordered; past participle: back ordered

    1. place an order for (a product) which is temporarily out of stock. "the taps can be back-ordered and take up to three months for delivery"

Edit: I am asking this question because native speakers are not understanding the meaning. Ideally there would be another word or phrase that had the same meaning that was more widely known. Failing that, a succinct description will have to suffice.

  • 2
    It is a very widely understood term. I'd stick with it.
    – Phil Sweet
    Aug 2, 2016 at 3:40
  • Thanks for the comment. I am asking this question because native speakers are not understanding the meaning. Updated question in response to this comment and the same opinion in the question below (english.stackexchange.com/a/340688/1793)
    – lindon fox
    Aug 2, 2016 at 4:38
  • You can simply say that it is "on order" or "awaiting replenishment".
    – Lawrence
    Aug 2, 2016 at 4:51

3 Answers 3


Back order is a common phrase that native speakers should understand, especially anyone that regularly buys products from various vendors. Depending on your exact needs, you could also go with "temporarily out of stock," suggesting that the product is not in stock but has been ordered, or "special order," suggesting that the product is not normally kept in stock but can be ordered upon request.

  • Thanks for the response and suggestions. I am asking this question because native speakers are not understanding the meaning. Updated question.
    – lindon fox
    Aug 2, 2016 at 4:39

The noun term I would use is "waiting list." That refers to something that is not currently available, and describes the group of people who have notified the supplier that they want it when it does become available. An adjectival form that is sometimes used is "wait listed." As in, the item has been "wait listed."


Since retailers are likely to understand back order, I presume that you are asking about the back orders made by customers.

You can then say the following:

  1. [This is the context] "it's out of stock".
  2. "But you can order for it".
  3. [Optionally] "Then, we will reserve (or set aside) one for you (when it is available)".
  4. [Optionally] "It will likely take blah-blah days/weeks/months."

In the context of (1), the term order in (2) would anyway mean back order.

Of course, in the rare case a customer does not understand "order", it's a special case.

From businessdictionary.com:

order: 1. Commerce: A confirmed request by one party to another to buy, sell, deliver, or receive goods or services under specified terms and conditions. When accepted by the receiving party, an order becomes a legally binding contract.

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