quar·ter·back | \ ˈkwȯ(r)-tər-ˌbak \

Definition of quarterback 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an offensive back in football who usually lines up behind the center, calls the signals, and directs the offensive play of the team

2 : one who directs and leads


quarterbacked; quarterbacking; quarterbacks

Definition of quarterback (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to direct the offensive play of quarterback a football team

2 : to give executive direction to : boss quarterbacked the original buying syndicateTime

intransitive verb

: to play quarterback

Examples of quarterback in a Sentence


He quarterbacked his high school team. She quarterbacked the company's latest ad campaign.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Matthew Stafford, as the Lions’ quarterback and best player, is obviously key to whether the team will win on any given Sunday. Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Lions 2018 Most Important: No. 4 Ziggy Ansah's health is key," 14 July 2018 Yeah, there’s a huge hole at quarterback and wide receiver, and the team as a hole is one of the least experienced in the entire FBS. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, "Oklahoma's still the team to beat in the Big 12," 9 July 2018 Ravens rookie quarterback and former Louisville star Lamar Jackson on Thursday was named the Atlantic Coast Conference Male Athlete of the Year. Jonas Shaffer, baltimoresun.com, "After historic year at Louisville, Ravens' Lamar Jackson named ACC's top male athlete," 6 July 2018 Staying power Tom Brady is once again the highest ranked quarterback and the highest ranked player in the NFL. azcentral, "NFL's top quarterbacks: Tom Brady, Carson Wentz, Drew Brees lead 2018 rankings," 5 July 2018 But Capital Prep quarterback and Central Connecticut commit Kyle Zajack found Simsbury wide receiver Ralph Gilliard for a 65-yard touchdown on the first play of the second quarter to even the game. Sean Begin, courant.com, "Governor's Cup: Connecticut All-Stars Defeat Rhode Island, 28-7," 30 June 2018 Hughes has a body of work that has earned praise from his teammates, including senior quarterback and Western Michigan recruit Payton Thorne. Blake Baumgartner, Naperville Sun, "Oh, Danny boy: Hughes ready to take on increased workload for Naperville Central this season in football," 28 June 2018 Gibbs, a freshman who is the grandson of former Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs, was the fourth-string quarterback and would have dipped to sixth string upon the arrival of Wilton Speight and Dorian Thompson-Robinson this summer. Ben Bolch, latimes.com, "Jackson Gibbs and Alex Akingbulu leaving UCLA football team," 9 June 2018 Luck, father of Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck and a former signal-caller himself, most recently was a high-ranking NCAA executive charged with overseeing that group's regulatory functions. Matt Bonesteel, chicagotribune.com, "As XFL's new commissioner, Andrew Luck's father says players will stand for anthem," 5 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The Dolphins have signed former Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler, the team announced on Friday. Matt Wyatt, Houston Chronicle, "Quarterback Brock Osweiler signs with Dolphins," 23 Mar. 2018 In the SBAAC-National Division alone, Tigers quarterback Seth Becker was player of the year and joined on first team by seniors Dunn, Drake Dockery, Owen Holtke, Bradley Lewis, Nate Owens and junior Gabe Kilgore. Cincinnati Enquirer, Cincinnati.com, "Bethel-Tate football goes bowling," 31 Jan. 2018 Which quarterback or quarterbacks those will be in 2018 remains a question. James Crepea, AL.com, "Statistically speaking: Pitching, defense carrying Auburn softball," 10 Apr. 2018 The team recently interviewed Jason Michael, the Tennessee Titans quarterback coach in 2017, who formerly coached tight ends with the San Diego Chargers. Clarence E. Hill Jr., star-telegram, "Jerry Jones is losing a lot of sleep over Philadelphia Eagles’ power surge," 6 Feb. 2018 At his season-ending news conference a year earlier, Bisciotti expressed broad faith in the organization’s leaders, from Newsome to Harbaugh to quarterback Joe Flacco. Childs Walker, baltimoresun.com, "Five Things We Learned From Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti's news conference," 3 Feb. 2018 Lucas Oil Stadium Cheer on the Indianapolis Colts — and hopefully watch quarterbacking phenom Andrew Luck throw many more touchdowns — at the cavernous multipurpose stadium, which seats 67,000 and covers nearly 2 million square feet. Sarah Bahr, Indianapolis Star, "Ultimate Indiana bucket list: 50+ things to do in Indianapolis and around the state," 11 July 2018 Nate Sudfeld, quarterbacking the second-team offense, took many snaps during 7-on-7s and team drills. Jeff Mclane, Philly.com, "Eagles practice observations: Carson Wentz is back (sort of); the first depth chart; Jay Ajayi shines," 22 May 2018 Should quarterback remain a question mark for Kentucky heading into game No. 4, star running back Benny Snell might not be enough to win many games in shootout fashion. Jon Hale, The Courier-Journal, "Here's how Kentucky football can win (or lose) against Miss. State," 5 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'quarterback.' 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 quarterback


1879, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1892, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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Last Updated

8 Sep 2018

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The first known use of quarterback was in 1879

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More Definitions for quarterback



English Language Learners Definition of quarterback

 (Entry 1 of 2)

American football : a player who leads a team's attempts to score usually by passing the ball to other players



English Language Learners Definition of quarterback (Entry 2 of 2)

American football : to play the position of quarterback for (a team)

: to lead or organize (something) by making important decisions


quar·ter·back | \ ˈkwȯr-tər-ˌbak \

Kids Definition of quarterback

: a football player who leads a team's attempts to score usually by passing the ball to other players

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Comments on quarterback

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


alleviating pain or harshness

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