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

Verb He quarterbacked his high school team. She quarterbacked the company's latest ad campaign.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In the big picture, the record should be better and would be better if the Wildcats had more production from their quarterback. Charles Hollis, al, "Vols struggling, offense a mess, Auburn should cruise," 20 Nov. 2020 Playing without All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley, the Ravens did a decent job protecting their quarterback against the Patriots, who hit him just twice. Childs Walker, baltimoresun.com, "Ravens vs. Titans scouting report for Week 11: Who has the edge?," 20 Nov. 2020 The Saints have not officially announced whether their starting quarterback for Sunday will be Taysom Hill or Jameis Winston, but several reports circulated that Hill will be the one to take the reins in Brees' absence. Amie Just | Staff Writer, NOLA.com, "Saints QB Drew Brees to injured reserve after rib, lung injuries; here's what to know," 20 Nov. 2020 Bruce Arians is worried about his aged quarterback staying up late to play games. Barry Wilner, Star Tribune, "Expect a shootout in prime time with Seahawks vs. Cardinals," 18 Nov. 2020 But Kansas simply hasn’t been able to keep its quarterback clean. Dallas News, "5 things Texas fans need to know about Kansas: S Kenny Logan Jr. provides defensive spark," 18 Nov. 2020 For the Browns, running out of pistol creates two advantages specific to their quarterback. Ellis L. Williams, cleveland, "What bye-week wrinkles did Kevin Stefanski add to the Browns' offense, and did they work? -- Film Review," 17 Nov. 2020 Hoke was evasive during Tuesday’s weekly Zoom news conference when those asking questions tried to pin him down on his starting quarterback against the Wolf Pack. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Aztecs deciding between Carson Baker and Lucas Johnson at quarterback," 17 Nov. 2020 After the game, Bears head coach Matt Nagy said that his quarterback's right hip and leg were still being evaluated. Calum Trenaman, CNN, "Chicago Bears quarterback Nick Foles carted off field with injury," 17 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder completed just 42% of his passes (11 of 26), lost three fumbles and failed to get into the end zone. Keith Jenkins, The Enquirer, "Three keys, prediction: No. 7 Cincinnati Bearcats to face UCF at the Bounce House," 20 Nov. 2020 Then there’s quarterback Peyton Ramsey, the Indiana transfer who hasn’t been perfect, but has done enough to keep the offense on schedule with his arm and his legs. C.j. Doon, baltimoresun.com, "College football storylines, Week 12: An Indiana vs. Northwestern Big Ten title game? It could happen.," 20 Nov. 2020 On fourth-and-1 with 4:48 remaining in the game, Mountaineers quarterback Jarret Doege fired to wide receiver Ali Jennings on a slant route into the end zone. Nick Moyle, ExpressNews.com, "Swaggering Texas Longhorns safety Chris Brown plays big," 19 Nov. 2020 With New England trailing the Buffalo Bills by three points on Sunday, Patriots quarterback Cam Newton lost a fumble at the Buffalo 13-yard line with 31 seconds left to play, sealing a 24-21 loss. Mark Inabinett | Minabinett@al.com, al, "Cam Newton: ‘I am jeopardizing this team’s success’," 3 Nov. 2020 With New England Patriots quarterback Jarrett Stidham a senior at Auburn in 2018, Gatewood redshirted as a freshman. Jon Hale, The Courier-Journal, "Three things to know about Kentucky football quarterback Joey Gatewood," 24 Oct. 2020 Days after Patriots quarterback Cam Newton tested positive earlier this month, cornerback Stephon Gilmore, the NFL’s reigning defensive player of the year, registered a positive test as well. Louise Radnofsky And Andrew Beaton, WSJ, "Dinner May Be the Most Dangerous Part of Sports During the Pandemic," 21 Oct. 2020 Last week, Patriots quarterback Cam Newton tested positive for coronavirus, and the Patriots game against the Kansas City Chiefs was rescheduled. Lauren M. Johnson, CNN, "The NFL postpones the Broncos-Patriots game after team reports a positive Covid-19 test," 11 Oct. 2020 The Patriots have had two players — quarterback Cam Newton and cornerback Stephon Gilmore — test positive for COVID-19 in the last week. Michael Middlehurst-schwartz, USA TODAY, "Titans' game against Bills delayed to Tuesday amid COVID-19 outbreak, per report," 8 Oct. 2020

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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Time Traveler for quarterback

Time Traveler

The first known use of quarterback was in 1879

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Statistics for quarterback

Last Updated

22 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Quarterback.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quarterback. Accessed 30 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for quarterback


How to pronounce quarterback (audio)

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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