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 Patrick Mahomes is the record-setting quarterback and reigning league MVP. Washington Post, "Chiefs’ Demarcus Robinson steps up in Tyreek Hill’s absence," 17 Sep. 2019 The spotlight will be on freshman quarterback Bo Nix, and rightly so. Creg Stephenson | Cstephenson@al.com, al, "AL.com All-Access: The real season starts now, is Auburn ready?," 17 Sep. 2019 Still standing were Tomlin, his future Hall of Fame quarterback and the rest of their charges – some of them young and still developing while growing into their key roles. Mike Jones, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Steelers' Mike Tomlin faces ultimate test after Ben Roethlisberger's injury," 16 Sep. 2019 Mason Rudolph was the fifth quarterback the Steelers have drafted since taking Ben Roethlisberger in 2004, and easily the highest selected (76th overall) of the group. Albert Breer, SI.com, "Brown’s Week in Foxboro Isn’t Surprising, Stay Tuned to Ramsey’s Request, More Notes," 16 Sep. 2019 Wide receiver Jaylon Smith has developed a bond with quarterback Marquese Garrett, and that was clearly evident in the second quarter of Hinsdale South’s game against District 86 rival Hinsdale Central Friday. Patrick Kelly, chicagotribune.com, "In battle of the Hinsdales, WR Jaylon Smith shows he is a big playmaker for Hornets," 16 Sep. 2019 Kenny Willekes stripped the ball from ASU freshman quarterback Jayden Daniels, and fellow defensive end Jacub Panasiuk pounced on the ball. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan State football upended by penalties, miscues in 10-7 loss to Arizona State," 15 Sep. 2019 Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders: Week 2 preview, betting trends and notes New faces on both sides of the football have improved Oakland’s outlook with regard to protecting the quarterback and getting to opposing signal-callers. Skip Snow, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders odds, picks and best bets [UPDATED]," 15 Sep. 2019 But on the first play on the second quarter, quarterback and reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes found receiver Demarcus Robinson for a 44-yard touchdown. Matt Kawahara, SFChronicle.com, "Raiders blitzed by Chiefs in second quarter, lose 28-10," 15 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But that’s when Mustangs quarterback Cole Stenstrom took over. Jace Frederick, Twin Cities, "High school football: Six Zephyrs score as Mahtomedi bests Hill-Murray," 7 Sep. 2019 Brown was supposed to help quarterback Derek Carr solidify a mostly shaky career. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Raiders trade gone bad is familiar good luck for Philip Rivers," 6 Sep. 2019 However, the Texans made another trade on the other end of the ball that brought back left tackle Laremy Tunsil, who will help quarterback Deshaun Watson avoid big hits. Allen Kim, CNN, "The NFL is back. Here are all the best games to watch in Week 1," 6 Sep. 2019 Ruled out are safety Justin Evans (Achilles) and former 49ers quarterback Blaine Gabbert (shoulder). Cam Inman, The Mercury News, "Top things we learned Friday at 49ers HQ before Tampa trip," 6 Sep. 2019 As Lawrence quarterbacked the Tigers to a perfect season, he could be spotted at NewSpring most Sundays, usually sitting near the front. Tim Rohan, SI.com, "Faith, Football and the Fervent Religious Culture at Dabo Swinney's Clemson," 4 Sep. 2019 Tuato, a 2003 Los Amigos graduate who quarterbacked the Lobos during those winning days, has a lot of talent, big plans, and the ingredients for something special. Daily Pilot, "High School Football Preview: Los Amigos to dedicate season to late coach Harold McDowell," 9 Aug. 2019 McVay had helped quarterback Kirk Cousins develop into a star. Los Angeles Times, "Rams extend contracts of coach Sean McVay and GM Les Snead through 2023," 26 July 2019 Raiders quarterback Derek Carr was not happy with the officiating during the team's 28–10 loss to the Chiefs on Sunday. Alaa Abdeldaiem, SI.com, "Raiders' Derek Carr Rips Offensive Pass Interference Call vs. Chiefs: 'Blows My Mind'," 16 Sep. 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

3 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for quarterback

The first known use of quarterback was in 1879

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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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Comments on quarterback

What made you want to look up quarterback? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


not being in agreement or harmony

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