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

More competition: One of the fun drills from Tuesday’s practice was a couple periods of 1-on-1 competition between receivers and defensive backs, with the quarterback throwing the ball. oregonlive.com, "Oregon State kicker Jordan Choukair says ‘bring it on’ in regard to additional camp competition: Day 5 recap," 6 Aug. 2019 NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Monday that the star quarterback signed a contract extension with the Pats for one more season but will become a free agent in 2020. Scottie Andrew And Brian Ries, CNN, "Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen's Boston-area mansion was just listed for a cool $39,500,000," 6 Aug. 2019 The injury to Recktenwald left two freshmen — Darien Wilson and Luke Fields — to play quarterback, and the offense was one-dimensional as a result. Jason Frakes, The Courier-Journal, "3 Louisville area high school football programs on the rise in 2019," 5 Aug. 2019 Cowboys safety Jameill Showers played quarterback for University of Texas-El Paso, which is roughly eight miles from the Walmart where the shooting occurred. Jori Epstein, USA TODAY, "Jerry Jones, Dallas Cowboys players react to mass shooting in El Paso, Texas," 4 Aug. 2019 At times, the Indianapolis front seven has been impressive in training camp, putting pressure on the pocket and forcing the quarterbacks to scramble. Joel A. Erickson, Indianapolis Star, "Colts camp observations: Indianapolis front seven wreaks havoc," 3 Aug. 2019 Listed at 5-foot-10 and 170 pounds, Fleming has played quarterback at Bishop Hartley High School in Columbus. Andy Greder, Twin Cities, "Gophers quarterbacks will split snaps, but probably not for long," 30 July 2019 Four years ago, Fort transferred from Wyoming to Chabot (Calif.) Community College in a last-ditch effort to keep playing quarterback. Kyle Fredrickson, The Denver Post, "Broncos’ tight end Austin Fort emerges as serious roster contender," 26 July 2019 Ciara's husband Russell Wilson, the Seattle Seahawks quarterback who hosted the event three consecutive years from 2015-17, will also be participating in this year's show. Cathy Applefeld Olson, Billboard, "Ciara to Perform at 2019 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Sports: Exclusive," 11 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

McCarron is slated to serve as the backup to quarterback Deshaun Watson for Houston this season. Mark Inabinett | Minabinett@al.com, al, "Injury endangers AJ McCarron’s preseason availability for Texans," 7 Aug. 2019 This is a strange preseason for Browns fans used to quarterback battles and preseason games carrying some semblance of meaning. Dan Labbe, cleveland.com, "What we’re watching in Thursday’s preseason opener: Orange and Brown Talk podcast," 6 Aug. 2019 The offensive line — not quarterback Kirk Cousins or running back Dalvin Cook — will be the engine that determines the Vikings’ success. Charley Walters, Twin Cities, "Charley Walters: Twins weigh options as trade deadline nears," 20 July 2019 Pace specifically applied that motto to quarterback Mitch Trubisky. Rich Campbell, chicagotribune.com, "How can the Bears meet Super Bowl expectations and avoid taking a step back?," 23 July 2019 The defense sniffs it out and, suddenly, a linebacker blitzes through the A-gap on a warpath to quarterback Joe Flacco. Kyle Fredrickson, The Denver Post, "Royce Freeman’s physicality a valuable asset in new Broncos’ offense," 22 July 2019 Smith was the second player to commit to Alabama on Wednesday, following 2021 recruit and quarterback Drake Maye. Rainer Sabin | Rsabin@al.com, al.com, "Alabama nets commitment from 4-star defensive tackle," 17 July 2019 Justin Herbert gets all the attention on Oregon’s offense, but don’t forget about the guy quarterbacking the Ducks' defense. The Si Staff, SI.com, "Top 100 College Football Players of 2019: Nos. 100–51," 9 July 2019 Clark Wade/IndyStar Peyton Manning shared such a special bond with two wide receivers — Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne — that helped the trio break NFL records during Manning's time quarterbacking the Indianapolis Colts. Dwight Adams, Indianapolis Star, "Remember the 'Dirty Dancing' ad in the Super Bowl? Peyton Manning dissected brother Eli's moves," 27 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

11 Aug 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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marked by turns or indirection

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