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

The New York Giants have benched longtime starting quarterback Eli Manning after beginning the season 0-2. Christopher Brito, CBS News, "New York Giants bench Eli Manning for rookie Daniel Jones," 17 Sep. 2019 One person who deserves credit is new offensive coordinator Greg Roman, who knows how to scheme it up for mobile quarterbacks. BostonGlobe.com, "The NFL’s fast-spinning quarterback carousel is where we begin our Week 2 review:," 17 Sep. 2019 However, one of the selling points was likely that Pittsburgh will finish the 2019 season without starting quarterback Ben Rothlisberger, who suffered a season-ending elbow injury in last Sunday’s 28-26 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Omar Kelly, sun-sentinel.com, "Dolphins trade DB Minkah Fitzpatrick to Steelers for first-round pick," 17 Sep. 2019 Week 7 Arizona Cardinals – Week 8 Veteran backup Teddy Bridgewater is expected to take over as the Saints’ starting quarterback while Brees is out of action. Ryan R. Bonini, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "Drew Brees will miss time, Saints' Super Bowl odds to be hit hard," 16 Sep. 2019 Franks, the Gators’ starting quarterback, suffered a gruesome ankle injury against Kentucky, knocking him out for the season. C.j. Doon, baltimoresun.com, "College football overreaction index, Week 3: Same old Maryland?; ACC is at the bottom of the Power 5," 16 Sep. 2019 And that game in November of 2003 was won by the Bengals, 24-20, at Heinz Field - with Jon Kitna as Cincinnati's starting quarterback. Dave Clark, Cincinnati.com, "Bengals, Steelers to meet without Ben Roethlisberger for first time since 2003," 16 Sep. 2019 Calzada, a Georgian who chose the Aggies over Georgia, owns the strongest arm of any A&M quarterback in recent memory. Brent Zwerneman, ExpressNews.com, "Texas A&M crushes Lamar 62-3 in final tune-up before SEC play," 14 Sep. 2019 The Burbank quarterback bombed a pass over the middle that Burnham hauled in among defenders before sprinting the rest of the way into the end zone. Nathan Cambridge, Burbank Leader, "Burbank football ends nonleague schedule with loss to Hart," 13 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

And will Daniel Jones prove worthy of quarterbacking the Giants as a rookie? Kyle Fredrickson, The Denver Post, "NFC preview: Will new coaching staff propel Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay back to title chase?," 5 Sep. 2019 His dad, Jay, starred at Hewitt-Trussville before quarterbacking Alabama to the 1992 national championship. Josh Bean | Jbean@al.com, al, "Why Spain Park QB Harrison Barker found instant success," 5 Sep. 2019 Junior Matthew Potts quarterbacked the team throughout a contest with Sam Rayburn, eventually won by Deer Park 25-20. Robert Avery, Houston Chronicle, "Phase II to finding Deer Park’s new quarterback now complete," 1 July 2019 Bridgewater, 26, quarterbacked the Vikings for two years and spent last year with the Saints backing up Brees. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Improved Rams KO Drew Brees, rout Saints in title game rematch," 15 Sep. 2019 On his one tackle that wasn’t a sack, Kennard played a bootleg keeper by Murray well, getting outside of a block by J.R. Sweezy to force the Cardinals quarterback out of bounds. Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Lions stock watch: T.J. Hockenson shines, run game sputters," 9 Sep. 2019 Braves quarterback Hudson Beers tossed a pair of touchdowns, both to wide receiver Miles Williams, who also blocked a punt and returned it for a TD. Mike Lefkow, The Mercury News, "High school football roundup: Around the Bay," 24 Aug. 2019 Andres Begne, a foreign exchange student from Mexico, is quarterbacking the Kokomo High School Wildkats during this Fall's campaign. Kyle Neddenriep, Indianapolis Star, "Mexican foreign exchange student learned English from TV — and also how to play QB," 22 Aug. 2019 With a clear path Saturday, Arden Key wasn’t going to let Rams quarterback Brandon Allen elude him. Matt Kawahara, SFChronicle.com, "Raiders-Rams takeaways: No ‘almost’ for Arden Key," 11 Aug. 2019

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

20 Oct 2019

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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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Comments on quarterback

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