Which is the past tense of backup?

  1. backuped

  2. backup-ed

  3. backed up

  4. backed-up

The context is the following:

Due to the advent of cloud-based storage solutions, the data is backed up in different countries reducing the risk of data-loss even if a tornado wipes-out half of the surface of the Earth.

  • 1
    Side question.. I was wondering if wipes-out is correct too
    – Pacerier
    Jan 4 '12 at 5:12
  • 2
    Drop the hyphen in wipes-out, methinks.
    – user11550
    Jan 4 '12 at 5:29
  • @Mahnax How about wipe-out as a noun? Hyphen, yes?
    – sarah
    Jan 4 '12 at 6:42
  • 1
    @Sarah Actually, wipeout is already a commonly accepted noun, but as this dictionary shows, both are acceptable.
    – user11550
    Jan 4 '12 at 6:43
  • 2
    @Pacerier No, wipes-out isn't correct. It's being used as a verb, so it should be wiped out or wipes out. Either would do there. If it were a noun it would be wipeout (or wipe-out) with wipeouts for plural, much like backup and backups.
    – Phoenix
    Jan 4 '12 at 11:19

Backed up is the correct form. I never saw anyone spell it backuped or backup-ed until today. Also see the n-gram chart. [n-gram chart][1].

  • Btw how did you get this chart?
    – Pacerier
    Jan 4 '12 at 6:49
  • 2
    +1 for N-gram. (Especially if my edits are accepted ;) Actually, I'm not sure they're necessary. I'm new here.)
    – sarah
    Jan 4 '12 at 6:50
  • @Pacerier Google Ngrams books.google.com/ngrams
    – Incognito
    Jan 4 '12 at 7:38
  • 1
    Note also Mehper C. Palavuzlar's answer: "backup" is also incorrect as a verb. "I need to back up my data" not "I need to backup my data".
    – phoog
    Jan 4 '12 at 23:20
  • yeah , phoog point , so is not backup but back up , well I do backups , and word exists en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Backup . So not past tense of back up is backed up and the past tense of backup ? is backuped isn't it ?
    – Sérgio
    Jun 5 '15 at 0:30

Backup is a noun when it is written adjoined. Its verb form is back up (note the space between back and up). Don't mix these two.

That said, the past tense of back up is backed up.


The noun a backup is derived from the verb to back up. Therefore, the past form should be backed up.

If it was the other way round -- if to backup was a verb derived from the noun a backup -- then backuped would be correct. That's probably how you became confused. Somehow, in your mental dictionary, backup / back up became mis-categorised as a verb derived from a noun.


I would say backed-up, although from personal experience, mistaken, let-down and screwed are more honest.

  • Sry I'm not understanding your second half of the sentence..
    – Pacerier
    Jan 4 '12 at 8:02
  • That's how you feel when you need a backup, but don't have one (either because you didn't make it or because it somehow got corrupted).
    – Pitarou
    Jan 4 '12 at 11:32
  • @Pacerier - Backup is an irregular verb. I will backup (future), I am doing a backup (present), oh shit I thought I had a backup (past)
    – mgb
    Jan 4 '12 at 16:29
  • There shouldn't be a hyphen in backed-up unless it's used to modify a noun: "I wish I backed up that drive" and "I wish that the backed-up drive had failed instead of the other one."
    – phoog
    Jan 4 '12 at 23:22
  • @phoog, but I'm backed-up, or we are safe we are backed-up seems like it should have a hyphen. Ultimately backed-up migth become a word, just like e-mail
    – mgb
    Jan 4 '12 at 23:29

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