check·​down | \ ˈchek-ˌdau̇n How to pronounce checkdown (audio) \
plural checkdowns

Definition of checkdown

American football
: a short pass play to a running back or tight end that the quarterback chooses after reading the defensive coverage and seeing no play downfield I just took what the defense gave me, hit my checkdowns, hit short stuff.— Eli Manning, quoted in Sporting News, 22 Dec. 2008 Running back Warrick Dunn might be the most underrated back in the league. Dunn … is a serious threat as a receiver. He's a dangerous checkdown target …— Brad Biggs, Chicago Sun-Times, 18 Dec. 2005

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First Known Use of checkdown

1981, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for checkdown

from the verb phrase check down (to) “move to the next option (on the list of receivers)”

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Time Traveler for checkdown

Time Traveler

The first known use of checkdown was in 1981

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Cite this Entry

“Checkdown.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Jan. 2021.

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