kick·​off | \ ˈkik-ˌȯf How to pronounce kickoff (audio) \

Definition of kickoff

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a kick that puts the ball into play in a football or soccer game the opening kickoff
2 : the start of something : commencement the campaign kickoff

kick off

kicked off; kicking off; kicks off

Definition of kick off (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to start or resume play in football by a placekick
2a : to initiate proceedings
b : to start out : begin the movie kicks off with a bank robbery
3 slang : die

transitive verb

: to mark the beginning of kick off the campaign

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Examples of kickoff in a Sentence

Noun At his campaign kickoff, the senator gave a passionate speech about combating poverty. His speech marked the kickoff of his campaign. Verb I'll kick off the discussion on ethics with this question. surprisingly, the recluse was worth a cool million when he kicked off
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun All gas, no brakes: After Jackson State scooped an Edward Waters fumble on a kickoff return with 55 seconds remaining in the first half, the Tigers marched down the field and increased the lead to 31-0 on four plays in 44 seconds. Rashad Milligan, USA TODAY, "Deion Sanders, 'Coach Prime,' wins debut as Jackson State football routs Edward Waters," 21 Feb. 2021 Brooks had led the NFL in kickoff-return yards in 1982 and all-purpose yards in 1981 and 1982. Mark Inabinett |, al, "Auburn’s top 10 NFL receivers: 8 seasons and counting," 16 Feb. 2021 But the quick-strike Hornets got a 73-yard kickoff return TD by Garza, who found a crease in the St. Francis coverage unit. Brad Emons, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan high school football: Julius Garza dominates in New Lothrop's Division 7 title win," 23 Jan. 2021 Rock began the second half with a 76-yard kickoff return, acting on a suggestion of a coach to get to the outside faster. Randy Jennings, Dallas News, "History continues to be made for Mansfield Summit as it reaches its first state semifinal with win over Red Oak," 1 Jan. 2021 When the Vikings beat them 19-13 five weeks ago in Chicago, the Bears managed two first-half field goals and needed a kickoff return touchdown by Cordarrelle Patterson to stay competitive. Dave Campbell, ajc, "Bears beat Vikings 33-27 to stay in stride in playoff race," 20 Dec. 2020 This time, Seminole never trailed after Keon Holloway opened the game with a long kickoff return. J.c. Carnahan,, "Sanford Seminole beats Kissimmee Osceola to win 8A state football title," 19 Dec. 2020 The junior wide receiver and kick returner had a 63-yard touchdown reception, an 86-yard kickoff return and 28 rushing yards in a 48-7 win over John I. Leonard. Adam Lichtenstein,, "Playoff top performers: Kicker Chris Maron sends American Heritage to state title game," 14 Dec. 2020 The Cardinals used a short field to score on a field goal early and got a touchdown midway through the second quarter on a fumble on a kickoff return. Tom Canavan,, "Giants no longer in control of their chances in the NFC East," 14 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Buccaneers and Packers are scheduled to kick off at 2:05 a.m. CST Sunday at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Mark Inabinett |, al, "Gravediggers out to bury Aaron Rodgers, Packers in NFC title game," 23 Jan. 2021 The Cowboys and Giants are scheduled to kick off at noon CT. Michael Gehlken, Dallas News, "Cowboys use wintery weather in Frisco to simulate expected conditions at Giants’ Metlife Stadium," 31 Dec. 2020 The Texas Bowl was originally scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m. at NRG Stadium in Houston. Scottie Bordelon, Arkansas Online, "Razorbacks' bowl game called off," 29 Dec. 2020 The Steelers' Week 4 game against the Tennessee Titans, originally scheduled to kick off Sunday, has been moved to Week 7. Jonas Shaffer,, "Ravens' Week 7 game vs. Steelers rescheduled for Week 8 after Titans' COVID-19 outbreak," 2 Oct. 2020 The Spartans are scheduled to kick off the 2021 season Sept. 4 at Northwestern. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "Former Michigan State football FB/TE Max Rosenthal transfers to Illinois," 13 Jan. 2021 There are concerns related to Ohio State’s player availability for the game, according to sources, setting up a massive decision less than a week from when the game is scheduled to kick off in Miami. John Talty |, al, "COVID-19 concerns threaten to disrupt national title game," 5 Jan. 2021 In Spain, where more than 16,000 people died in nursing homes in the first three months of the pandemic, the inoculation campaign was also slated to kick off in a nursing home in the city of Guadalajara. New York Times, "E.U.’s Mass Vaccination Campaign Starts, With Nursing Homes as Focus," 27 Dec. 2020 The UConn basketball season is expected to kick off on Nov. 25, and despite coronavirus making things less-than-typical, there is still confidence that there will be some sort of season for the Huskies., "Courant sports reporters to answer your questions about the upcoming UConn basketball season during live Q&A. Leave your questions here," 29 Oct. 2020

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

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First Known Use of kickoff


1856, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1857, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

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Time Traveler for kickoff

Time Traveler

The first known use of kickoff was in 1856

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Statistics for kickoff

Last Updated

3 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Kickoff.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
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More Definitions for kickoff



English Language Learners Definition of kickoff

: a kick that starts play in a game (such as American football or soccer)
: the start of something


kick·​off | \ ˈkik-ˌȯf How to pronounce kickoff (audio) \

Kids Definition of kickoff

: a kick that puts the ball into play (as in football or soccer)

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Comments on kickoff

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