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

And now infielder Baylee Klingler, daughter of former University of Houston quarterback Jimmy Klingler, is transferring after a strong freshman season. Brent Zwerneman, ExpressNews.com, "A sport-by-sport checklist as Bjork settles in at A&M," 11 June 2019 Former Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts met with the media for the first time since transferring to Oklahoma. Mark Heim | Mheim@al.com, al.com, "David Pollack vents about NCAA, cites Jalen Hurts as ‘perfect’ use of transfer portal," 11 June 2019 The 37-year-old is also back because, unlike best friend and former Dallas quarterback Tony Romo, the Cowboys hadn’t replaced him. Schuyler Dixon, Houston Chronicle, "Cowboys’ Witten returns for another shot at the Super Bowl.," 10 June 2019 Baker Mayfield isn’t dominating TV timeouts like Beckham’s former quarterback. Scott Patsko, cleveland.com, "Odell Beckham Jr. is wrong, there is another like him: Browns Take," 6 June 2019 Cardona and former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach are the only Navy graduates to have won multiple Super Bowls. Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY, "Patriots' Joe Cardona promoted to lieutenant in the Navy," 6 June 2019 The offense is thriving under the direction of former Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell, whose scheme is inspired by former Red Raiders coach Mike Leach. Iliana Limón Romero, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Talented North Texas is No. 46 in 2018 preseason college football rankings," 12 July 2018 Gisele Bündchen seemed just as happy as her quarterback husband, Tom Brady, when the Patriots won the Super Bowl last night. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Gisele Bündchen's Reaction to Tom Brady's Super Bowl Win Was Priceless," 4 Feb. 2019 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But McCarron is preparing for the 2019 season with his role already determined -- backup to quarterback Deshaun Watson for the Houston Texans. Mark Inabinett | Minabinett@al.com, al.com, "AJ McCarron enjoying every day with Houston Texans," 12 June 2019 On Saturday morning, McMahon and quarterback Mitchell Trubisky joined forces for a panel on quarterbacking the Bears. Kalyn Kahler, SI.com, "The Bears at 100: Cheers and a Few Tears," 11 June 2019 Marlin Briscoe was the first, quarterbacking the AFL Denver Broncos for a few games in 1968. Will Higgins, Indianapolis Star, "These Indy football players kept their helmets on so fans couldn’t see they were black," 9 Jan. 2018 No matter which quarterback the Browns draft, Tyrod Taylor will be the better option the next day. Dennis Manoloff, cleveland.com, "NFL Draft 2018: Analyst Dane Brugler chats with DMan's World (photos)," 23 Apr. 2018 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

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

16 Jun 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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having a desire to acquire more things

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