half·​back | \ ˈhaf-ˌbak How to pronounce halfback (audio) , ˈhäf-\

Definition of halfback

1 : one of the backs stationed near either flank in football
2 : a player stationed immediately behind the forward line (as in field hockey, soccer, or rugby)

Examples of halfback in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Midway through the fourth quarter, the East put the stamp on another All-Star Game win when Owen Holtke hit Austin Watt for a 47-yard touchdown strike on a halfback pass. Adam Baum, Cincinnati.com, "East rallies late, beats West in Southwest Ohio All-Star football game," 7 June 2018 Now, as The Wall Street Journal reports, halfback-ing is on the upswing. Southern Living, "Surprise! Retirees Are Flocking to This Southern Region," 16 May 2018 Both first-round wideout Dwayne Bowe and running back Larry Johnson held out at the start of training camp, and former halfback Priest Holmes, sensing a potential opening, tried to make a comeback from a spine injury the year before. Tim Hackett, SI.com, "Life After Hard Knocks: How Do NFL Teams Fare the Following Season?," 17 May 2018 The halfback phenomenon—so named because the retirees are said to be moving roughly halfway back up north—was well under way by the early 2000s before coming to a halt during the recession. Cameron Mcwhirter, WSJ, "Forget Florida: More Northern Retirees Head to Appalachia," 15 May 2018 Chance Cover, 2019, Nolan Catholic 6-2, 220, Linebacker Offered by Army, Holy Cross Recently offered by Air Force to play halfback, tight end and linebacker. Brian Gosset, star-telegram, "Top Fort Worth-area football prospects picked up these offers this week | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 10 May 2018 The first overall selection, Jay Berwanger, a halfback out of the University of Chicago, elected to take a position with an area rubber company, rather than attempt a much more volatile vocation in the fledgling pro football industry. Clarence E. Hill Jr., star-telegram, "This plan to fix NFL Draft tanking would have resulted in higher pick for Cowboys | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 30 Apr. 2018 The first winner of the Heisman Trophy, University of Chicago star halfback Jay Berwanger, was elected to the U.S. Rugby Hall of Fame in 2016. Kim Janssen, chicagotribune.com, "Former Chicago mayoral candidate elected to rugby Hall of Fame," 26 Mar. 2018 From the shotgun, the 40-year-old league MVP handed to James White as the halfback ran right to left. Barry Wilner, Houston Chronicle, "Catch/No Catch: Nick Foles does, Tom Brady doesn't in Super Bowl," 5 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'halfback.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of halfback

1882, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about halfback

Statistics for halfback

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for halfback

The first known use of halfback was in 1882

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for halfback



English Language Learners Definition of halfback

American football : a player on offense who lines up next to the fullback and who runs with the ball and blocks
: a defensive player in games like soccer and field hockey who is positioned in front of the fullback


half·​back | \ ˈhaf-ˌbak How to pronounce halfback (audio) , ˈhäf-\

Kids Definition of halfback

1 : a football player who runs with the ball and blocks
2 : a player positioned behind the forward line in some games (as soccer)

More from Merriam-Webster on halfback

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with halfback

Comments on halfback

What made you want to look up halfback? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to speak slightingly about or to degrade

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Vocabulary Quiz Returns!

  • stylized drawing of woman pole vaulting across gap to get trophy
  • Which is a synonym of fuliginous?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!