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 After playing baseball, basketball, and football at Boonton High School in New Jersey, Jim Kiick became a halfback at the University of Wyoming. Ken Belson, BostonGlobe.com, "Jim Kiick, Dolphins’ perfect season running back, dies at 73," 21 June 2020 Paulson also throws a halfback pass for a touchdown to Maurice Wilson on third and 11 from the Oregon 20. oregonlive, "Civil War football history: The Oregon Ducks and Oregon State Beavers’ 122 meetings, game by game," 25 Nov. 2019 In his days as a defensive halfback at Baltimore, Shula was the backup quarterback to Unitas. George Puscas, Detroit Free Press, "Flashback: When Don Shula left Detroit Lions, everything began to fall apart," 4 May 2020 Mitchell, a halfback and flanker who played 11 seasons for the Browns (1958-61) and Washington Redskins (1962-68), was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1983. Fox News, "Pro Football Hall of Famer Bobby Mitchell dead at 84," 6 Apr. 2020 There was also a breakout star in freshman halfback Kenneth Kilpatrick, who scored three times in a 41-0 win over Fort Harrison. Jon Blau, Indianapolis Star, "The story of 1918 IU football, amid the ‘flu’ epidemic," 27 Mar. 2020 Mary again went to the workhorse on a halfback toss, but the ball popped out on a hit from Streetsboro’s Chris Golson. cleveland, "Streetsboro earns first playoff victory in school history with defensive stop, 21-14 over St. Vincent-St. Mary in Div. III, Region 9," 9 Nov. 2019 Significantly, halfback pairing Greig Laidlaw and Finn Russell are rested completely, and captain Stuart McInally is on the bench. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Stepping-stone for Scots is landmark for Artemyev’s Russia," 7 Oct. 2019 With just less than five minutes left in the fourth quarter, James White threw a halfback option pass to Jakobi Meyers for 35 yards. Bill Pennington, New York Times, "Patriots Run Out of Comebacks in Testy Rematch Against Chiefs," 8 Dec. 2019

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

Time Traveler for halfback

Time Traveler

The first known use of halfback was in 1882

See more words from the same year

Statistics for halfback

Last Updated

6 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Halfback.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/halfback. Accessed 12 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for halfback


How to pronounce halfback (audio)

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).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

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!