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

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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 magazine also features a look at some of the big quarterback controversies facing teams this season and the high-price of keeping talented assistant coaches on staff. Matt Murschel, OrlandoSentinel.com, "A guide to top college football preview magazines," 13 July 2018 The key to the Dolphins making a surprise push for the playoffs is getting quarterback Ryan Tannehill healthy, and keeping him that way. Dave Hyde, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Hyde5: Here's five reasons to feel better about the Miami Dolphins in July," 13 July 2018 The favorite to start is junior-college transfer Terry Wilson, another mobile quarterback who’s unproven at this level. Jake Lourim, The Courier-Journal, "How Louisville football can (and can't) beat Kentucky again," 13 July 2018 Or what game will make most sense if Patterson wants to get true freshman quarterback Justin Rogers action during the season? Drew Davison, star-telegram, "Gary Patterson rips into new NCAA rule. ‘That’s stupid.’," 13 July 2018 His firing came less than a week after the team decided to bench starting quarterback Eli Manning. Charlotte Carroll, SI.com, "Ex-Giants Coach Ben McAdoo Talks Division, Rips Offensive Line," 13 July 2018 In San Diego, the general manager positioned the Chargers to draft transformative linebacker Junior Seau and trade for Super Bowl-leading quarterback Stan Humphries. Bryce Miller, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Former Chargers GM Bobby Beathard could be most special NFL Hall inductee of all," 13 July 2018 Noah Fant, Iowa There’s some debate over which quarterback, wide receivers and offensive linemen make your random preseason All-America list. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, "The 10 best tight ends in college football," 13 July 2018 The first two — linebacker Karlos Dansby and quarterback Kirk Cousins — played all 16 games during their second seasons under the tag then went and cashed in elsewhere in free agency. Will Graves, The Seattle Times, "Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell refuses to sign tag, out for 2018," 14 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Horton quarterbacked American Airlines' successful restructuring and eventual merger with US Airways, a transaction that created the world's largest airline, GE said. Kevin Mccoy, USA TODAY, "General Electric nominates three new directors to its slimmed-down board," 26 Feb. 2018 Shawn Lazier quarterbacked the Wildkits and eventually played at Michigan State. Steve Sadin, chicagotribune.com, "Murney Lazier, Ken McGonagle remembered as pioneers of Evanston athletics," 19 June 2018 Sooners quarterback Kyler Murray is a two-sport athlete. Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY, "Raise for Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley means he will make more than Kyler Murray this year," 19 June 2018 Matt Ryan, Cam Newton, Deshaun Watson, Andrew Luck and whoever quarterbacks Minnesota will travel to Lincoln Financial Field in 2018, as well as Dak Prescott, Eli Manning (presumably) and Alex Smith of Washington in division games. Peter King, SI.com, "The Philly Special: Inside the ‘Set of Stones’ Play Call That Helped the Eagles Win the Super Bowl," 5 Feb. 2018 Kyler Murray signed a $5 million deal with the A’s that allows him to quarterback Oklahoma for a year. Nick Canepa, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Justify’s Triple Crown win huge, in light of greats who fell short," 9 June 2018 This is Nick Foles’ life now, after becoming a Super Bowl MVP and the underdog of all underdogs, after quarterbacking the Eagles to their first championship in 57 years. Mike Sielski, Philly.com, "After the Eagles' Super Bowl win, Nick Foles has become more than a mere celebrity | Mike Sielski," 29 June 2018 Jalen Hurts has lost only one start and quarterbacked the Crimson Tide to two straight national titles, but Tagovailoa's overtime touchdown pass to Devonta Smith to win the national title made him into an instant legend. Josh Bean, AL.com, "AL.com All-Access: Football is finished, so now what?," 5 Feb. 2018 So could quarterback Jarrett Stidham, a third-year sophomore who sat out last season after leaving Baylor. USA TODAY, "Malzahn: Future bright for Auburn after up-and-down season," 2 Jan. 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

17 Nov 2018

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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 \

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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