quar·​ter·​back | \ ˈkwȯ(r)-tər-ˌbak How to pronounce quarterback (audio) \

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

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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

Matrimonial law firms tend to be on the smaller side, but my guess is that in this case each side would have a main lawyer who is a quarterback leading a team of partners and other lawyers working on it. Norman Vanamee, Town & Country, "The Jeff and Mackenzie Bezos Divorce: One Lawyer Explains How to Split the World’s Biggest Fortune," 10 Jan. 2019 Senior quarterback Chris Raffin has bided his time, waiting behind Eric Mooney for his chance to run Huntley’s offense. Paul Johnson, Naperville Sun, "Ready for Raffin: Chris Raffin takes over at quarterback for Huntley in place of graduated Eric Mooney," 5 July 2018 Senior quarterback Andrew Robison intends to transfer from the Terriers to the Tigers, his dad said Friday (May 25), as his family is in the process of moving from Houma to the River Parishes. Jim Derry, NOLA.com, "Quarterback Andrew Robison set to transfer to Hahnville from Vandebilt Catholic," 25 May 2018 Bob Booth Special to the Star-Telegram Incoming senior quarterback Will Bowers and running back T.J. McDaniel were the first to score when the two connected on a short slant. Brian Gosset, star-telegram, "Riley Dodge ready to blaze own trail as Southlake Carroll head coach | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 24 May 2018 Cavallari is now an entrepreneur behind jewelry and home goods brand Uncommon James, a mother of three, and wife to former NFL quarterback Jay Cutler. Nicole Saunders, Harper's BAZAAR, "Watch Kristin Cavallari's Nightly Beauty Routine," 2 Apr. 2019 Case in point, Nike’s embrace of quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who was ostracized by the NFL for protesting racial injustice during the national anthem before games. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Colin Kaepernick’s Nike ads are just one piece of a bigger ‘reckoning’ in the fashion industry," 20 Sep. 2018 The announcement was the latest signal that tensions remain high around the NFL protests that began in 2016 when San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began silently kneeling on the sidelines while the anthem played. Jill Colvin, chicagotribune.com, "'NFL, no escaping to Locker Rooms!' Donald Trump tweets about national anthem after canceling visit with Eagles," 5 June 2018 The announcement was the latest signal that tensions remain high around the NFL protests that began in 2016 when San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began silently kneeling on the sidelines while the anthem played. CBS News, ""So many lies": Eagles player fact checks Trump after White House invite is nixed," 5 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

This notion that a team quarterbacked by Keenum cannot possibly walk into a hostile environment and walk out with a win is a sentiment born of delusion. David Murphy, Philly.com, "For Eagles fans, now is no time to underestimate the Vikings | David Murphy," 18 Jan. 2018 And so now — get this — next Sunday’s conference championship games will be quarterbacked by legends Keenum, Foles, Bortles and some has-been named Brady? Nick Canepa, sandiegouniontribune.com, "No great NFL teams but some great contests," 14 Jan. 2018 The phrase refers to the fourth-and-goal touchdown during the Super Bowl when running back Corey Clement (No. 30) took the direct snap and pitched it to tight end Trey Burton (No. 88), who tossed it to quarterback Nick Foles (No. 9) to score. Jenna West, SI.com, "The Eagles' Super Bowl Rings Pay Tribute to the 'Philly Special' and Dog Masks," 14 June 2018 In the final minute of the opening half the Eagles went for it on fourth down at the 2-yard line, with Trey Burton throwing a touchdown pass to quarterback Nick Foles to give Philadelphia a 22-12 lead over the New England Patriots. Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "Eagles take 10-point lead over Patriots into halftime of Super Bowl LII," 4 Feb. 2018 The receiving corps is considered the deepest unit on the team, and the offensive line is ahead of schedule, said Leach, who is both the offensive coordinator and quarterback coach. Scott Hanson, The Seattle Times, "Washington State is filled with new faces, but one big one remains at the middle: Mike Leach," 27 Aug. 2018 His biggest contribution, though, was his fourth-down touchdown pass to quarterback Nick Foles in the Eagles’ Super Bowl victory, a play famously known as Philly Special. Rich Campbell, chicagotribune.com, "Tight end Trey Burton and Bears agree to deal," 13 Mar. 2018 They are still quarterbacked by a guy named Tom Brady, but that guy is now 40 years old. David Murphy, Philly.com, "A doubter's mea culpa: Dear Eagles, we were wrong | David Murphy," 23 Jan. 2018 Brillo, Class of ’99, was a four-year player at BC High, quarterbacking the Eagles his senior season. Nate Weitzer, BostonGlobe.com, "Jonathan Brillo named BC High football coach," 31 May 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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Statistics for quarterback

Last Updated

5 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for quarterback

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 How to pronounce quarterback (audio) \

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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