line·​back·​er ˈlīn-ˌba-kər How to pronounce linebacker (audio)
: a defensive football player who lines up immediately behind the line of scrimmage to make tackles on running plays through the line or defend against short passes

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web And just about anytime those two spoke, Anderson raved about his locker mate, a heat-seeking missile of a linebacker who had drawn the eyes of Jones and his brain trust. Nick Moyle, San Antonio Express-News, 5 May 2023 This includes a stout defensive line that can disrupt opposing offenses, a solid secondary that can limit big plays, and a smart and disciplined linebacker corps. 3. Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, 3 May 2023 Wilson has played in 40 games for the Bengals at middle linebacker. Logan Wilson, The Enquirer, 1 May 2023 The 2-year-old daughter of Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Shaquil Barrett drowned in a swimming pool at the family's home on Sunday, police said. CBS News, 30 Apr. 2023 His father was a five-time All-Pro linebacker for the Steelers. Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times, 29 Apr. 2023 This could be the likely range to add a possible running back, a safety or a linebacker. Bob Mcmanaman, The Arizona Republic, 29 Apr. 2023 While at Sacramento State, Mapu eventually added linebacker to his list of positions. Conor Roche,, 29 Apr. 2023 Michigan defensive tackle Mazi Smith went in the first round and Texas linebacker DeMarvion Overshown was their third-round pick. Joseph Hoyt, Dallas News, 29 Apr. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'linebacker.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1931, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of linebacker was in 1931

Dictionary Entries Near linebacker

Cite this Entry

“Linebacker.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


line·​back·​er ˈlīn-ˌbak-ər How to pronounce linebacker (audio)
: a football player on the defending team whose usual position is a short distance in back of the line of scrimmage

More from Merriam-Webster on linebacker

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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