backstop

In baseball, a backstop is the wall or fence behind home plate that keeps the ball on the playing field. If the batter hits the ball into the backstop, it's a foul ball.

When a softball player is up at bat, the backstop is behind her. Part of the backstop's purpose is to keep players and spectators from getting hurt by foul balls or bats that players toss after hitting the ball. You can also use the word backstop to describe a thing or a person that stands behind something, offering reinforcement or support. The earliest use of the word, in 1819, is from cricket.

Definitions of backstop
  1. noun
    (baseball) a fence or screen (as behind home plate) to prevent the ball from traveling out of the playing field
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    type of:
    fence, fencing
    a barrier that serves to enclose an area
  2. noun
    (baseball) the person who plays the position of catcher
    synonyms: catcher
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    type of:
    infielder
    (baseball) a person who plays a position in the infield
  3. verb
    act as a backstop
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    type of:
    play
    participate in games or sport
  4. noun
    a precaution in case of an emergency
    “he acted as a backstop in case anything went wrong”
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    type of:
    guard, precaution, safeguard
    a precautionary measure warding off impending danger or damage or injury etc.
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