For example, if you have 3 tasks to do every period of time, but you manage to do only 2 in that time period. You're falling behind, but if you want to measure how far behind you are, what word could you use ? Is there a single word for that ?

If you wrote on a spreadsheet how many tasks you're behind, how would you name the file ?

"Lateness" and "delay" don't seem mean that, and I only find verbs in dictionaries.

  • Perhaps shortfall? Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 15:03
  • 2
    How about backlog?
    – TimR
    Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 15:33
  • @TRomano Thank you this is exactly the word I'm looking for ! "unprocessed items", "items in a queue", that's it :) Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 15:36
  • An accumulation of work items that have not been completed. I am very familiar with the situation. The word is always on the tip of my tongue.
    – TimR
    Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 15:37
  • @TRomano Wonderful... you should make your comment into an answer. Perhaps the question could be edited and I could if it not longer makes sense, delete my answer.
    – WRX
    Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 15:42

2 Answers 2


A backlog is an accumulation of uncompleted tasks.


(from google definition) fall behind phrasal verb of fall 1. fail to keep up with one's competitors. fail to meet a commitment to make a regular payment. "borrowers falling behind with their mortgage payments" synonyms: lag, lag behind, trail, trail behind, be left behind, drop back, bring up the rear; straggle, dally, dawdle, hang back "the other walkers fell behind" get into debt, get into arrears, default, be in the red "they fell behind on their payments"

Failed, To do list, Unfinished, LINK: incomplete

'How far' to me means a measurement. I can not think of, nor can I find a single word that expresses the measurement in one word.

  • A measurement as in "how much" or "how far" ? Maybe I used the wrong word, "far" doesn't seem perfect, but if you had the "how [word]" for "falling behind" I wouldn't mind editing my title :) Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 15:14
  • @TeleportingGoat How far to me means there would be a specific answer. How far behind are you?" Answer, "I need another hour." Or, "I'm a kilometre away." Or, "I have three more columns to finish." So you need to explain what you mean before you will get the answer. Is the work incomplete?
    – WRX
    Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 15:18
  • Yep, that's exactly what I mean ! If you can't say it in one word, how would you say it ? Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 15:21
  • 1
    @TeleportingGoat How about Incomplete? Or Partial, Unfinished? To be positive, try: In Progress, Under way, or Progressing.
    – WRX
    Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 15:26
  • 1
    @TeleportingGoat Would a fraction work, instead of a word? 2/3 complete. Or, 6/8 complete.
    – WRX
    Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 15:39

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