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Someone or something that is out of date, out of fashion, or no longer relevant. Alludes to an issue of a periodical, magazine, or any serial publication that is now out of date. Primarily heard in US, South Africa. While it created quite a controversy in its time, the movie's love scene is a bit of a back number by today's standard. The singer was a huge star in the 1980s, but she's just a back number now.
Dated, out of style. For example, That hat is really a back number, or The game has changed so fast that a player who returns to the circuit after several years' absence usually finds he or she is a back number . This term originally referred to back issues of periodicals, which are no longer newsworthy. [Late 1800s]
a back number
If you call someone a back number, you mean that they are no longer useful or successful. This veteran jockey showed he was no back number by coming third out of a field of 24. Note: A back number of a magazine or newspaper is an edition of it that was published some time ago and is not the most recent.
a back number1 an issue of a periodical before the current one. 2 a person whose ideas or methods are out of date and who is no longer relevant or useful.
n. an old-fashioned person. (Like an out-of-print issue of a magazine.) Some old back number wearing gaiters wants to have a word with you.