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 Tebow played quarterback for Meyer between 2006 and 2009, helping the Gators win two national championships while becoming one of the most recognizable — and polarizing — athletes in college sports. Mark Long, Chron, "Report: Tebow-Meyer reunion on verge of becoming official," 10 May 2021 Tebow played quarterback for Meyer between 2006 and 2009, helping the Gators win two national championships while becoming one of the most recognizable — and polarizing — athletes in college sports. BostonGlobe.com, "QB-turned-tight end Tim Tebow on cusp of signing with Jaguars, per reports," 10 May 2021 San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan has said veteran Jimmy Garoppolo will be the team’s starting quarterback to begin the 2021 season. oregonlive, "San Francisco 49ers’ owner is all good with Trey Lance sitting for two years behind Jimmy Garoppolo," 7 May 2021 Weerts’ oldest brother, Ben, played quarterback for Batavia. Rick Armstrong, chicagotribune.com, "‘Everyone was terrified of that guy’: Batavia’s Matthew ‘Mojo’ Weerts is the Beacon-News/Courier News Football Player of the Year," 7 May 2021 Those predictions came mainly before the Broncos traded for Teddy Bridgewater the day before the draft, stocking Denver with the 2020 starting quarterback for the Carolina Panthers and their incumbent starting signal-caller, Drew Lock. Mark Inabinett | Minabinett@al.com, al, "Broncos bypass quarterback for Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain II," 4 May 2021 Atwell played quarterback in high school in Florida. Los Angeles Times, "NFL draft: Rams’ defensive line picks on Day 3 eager to play with Aaron Donald," 1 May 2021 DioGuardi, like most adolescent boys, wanted to play quarterback. Kyle Wood, orlandosentinel.com, "Florida Gators’ long-snapper Brett DioGuardi looks for his NFL shot," 1 May 2021 For four seasons Kellen Mond lowered his head and honed his considerable skills as Texas A&M’s starting quarterback, and in his final year led the Aggies to their highest finish in the Associated Press rankings in 81 years. Brent Zwerneman, San Antonio Express-News, "Vikings select Texas A&M QB Kellen Mond early in third round," 1 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The big question, of course, is whether Rodgers, the future Hall of Famer, will be the Packers quarterback this season. cleveland, "Browns 2021 schedule: at Green Bay Packers on Christmas Day, report says," 12 May 2021 In discussing Watt’s potential impact, Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury cited Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady. Gary Klein Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Rams aren’t the only NFC West team making big moves ahead of the NFL draft," 26 Apr. 2021 Sam Darnold was the face of a hopeful franchise, a promising playmaker who might just be the New York Jets’ quarterback for at least the next decade. Dennis Waszak Jr., courant.com, "Jets trade QB Sam Darnold to Panthers for 3 draft picks," 5 Apr. 2021 Who that quarterback winds up being is anyone’s guess, but Fields offers the highest upside of the three candidates because of his athleticism, arm strength and poise. C.j. Doon, baltimoresun.com, "2021 NFL mock draft (Version 3.0): First-round projections after 49ers, Dolphins shake up the top 10," 31 Mar. 2021 Draft watchers consider Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence the name that Robinson kept himself from dropping. Mark Inabinett | Minabinett@al.com, al, "Cam Robinson bites his tongue on 2021’s No. 1 NFL Draft pick," 29 Mar. 2021 Harris didn't have an interception while surrendering a few touchdowns, including a 48-yard pass from Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady to receiver Scotty Miller in the Vikings' Week 15 loss in Tampa Bay. Andrew Krammer, Star Tribune, "On the move: Ex-Vikings safety Anthony Harris to sign with Eagles," 19 Mar. 2021 Grambling quarterback Elijah Walker went 7-of-9 for 90 yards. Kevin Reynolds, Dallas News, "Prairie View A&M relies on defense to outlast Grambling in an unusual, springtime State Fair Classic," 13 Mar. 2021 Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert, a source familiar with the shoot told CNN. Madeline Holcombe, CNN, "In the days leading up to his crash, Tiger Woods had been teaching golf to movie and sports stars," 24 Feb. 2021

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

15 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Quarterback.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quarterback. Accessed 18 May. 2021.

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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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