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 The 49ers used their pick to select the former North Dakota State quarterback Thursday night after completing a blockbuster trade in March with the Miami Dolphins to jump from their original No. 12 position in the draft to No. 3. oregonlive, "San Francisco 49ers pull off mild surprise; select quarterback Trey Lance with the No. 3 pick in the 2021 NFL draft," 30 Apr. 2021 With the second pick, the New York Jets are expected to select BYU quarterback Zach Wilson. Mark Inabinett | Minabinett@al.com, al, "2021 NFL Draft First Round: Live updates," 30 Apr. 2021 Prior to taking the Buffalo job, Leipold served as head coach at Wisconsin-Whitewater, where the former standout quarterback amassed a 109-6 record with six national championships in eight seasons with his alma mater. Matt Galloway, USA TODAY, "Kansas hires Lance Leipold to replace Les Miles as head football coach," 30 Apr. 2021 Christensen was instrumental in protecting Wilson, covering the former BYU quarterback’s blind side. Norma Gonzalez, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Former BYU left tackle Brady Christensen picked up early in the third round of the 2021 NFL draft," 30 Apr. 2021 The Chicago Bears, originally scheduled to pick 20th, moved up to No. 11 to select Fields, the former Ohio State quarterback. Scott Horner, The Indianapolis Star, "NFL Draft 2021: What if the Colts got Justin Fields instead of Carson Wentz?," 30 Apr. 2021 The Jets also traded up for their second pick in the first round after selecting quarterback Zach Wilson second over all. New York Times, "The Giants Traded Back and, Some Say, Well," 30 Apr. 2021 Governor Charlie Baker on Friday drew comparisons between former New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Mac Jones, the signal caller whom the Pats selected in the first round of the NFL draft on Thursday night. BostonGlobe.com, "Baker says Mac Jones has similar story to Tom Brady, and ‘that story is constantly being underestimated’," 30 Apr. 2021 Multiple media reports indicate that former Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Tim Tebow is looking to make an NFL comeback, and that the Jacksonville Jaguars reportedly are interested in giving the 33-year-old former player a shot. Chuck Schilken, Los Angeles Times, "Is the world ready for Tim Tebow, the NFL tight end? The Jaguars might be," 29 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins likes hearing that. Star Tribune, "New Vikings tackle Christian Darrisaw already sizing up division foes," 30 Apr. 2021 Myles Garrett, David Njoku, Kareem Hunt and Denzel Ward and former Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar. Marc Bona, cleveland, "Jarvis Landry Celebrity Softball Game set for June," 9 Apr. 2021 Jeremiah mentioned former Texans quarterback Matt Schaub, Atlanta’s Matt Ryan and Minnesota’s Kirk Cousins, whom Washington drafted in the fourth round in 2012 at Shanahan’s urging when Shanahan was the offensive coordinator. Eric Branch, San Francisco Chronicle, "'Don't sleep on Mac Jones': 49ers' next stunner could be drafting Alabama QB at No. 3," 26 Mar. 2021 Former Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick signed with Washington. Chris Hays, orlandosentinel.com, "NFL free agency rewards Apopka’s Trey Hendrickson, Dr. Phillips’ Matt Milano," 16 Mar. 2021 Adam Schefter reported on Monday that Washington reached a one-year, $10 million agreement with former Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. Dallas News, "Report: Washington, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick reach agreement on one-year, $10 million deal," 16 Mar. 2021 Jenkins made five tackles and broke up a pass. · Saints quarterback Jameis Winston (Hueytown) relieved Drew Brees for New Orleans’ final two possessions. Mark Inabinett | Minabinett@al.com, al, "State NFL roundup: Jeremy Reaves gets first pick," 4 Jan. 2021 However, quarterback Kirk Cousins has been extremely effective recently -- throwing for over 300 yards with three touchdowns in each of his last three games. Steve Gardner, USA TODAY, "Minnesota Vikings at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Live stream, how to watch, odds, time," 14 Dec. 2020 Former Arizona Wildcats quarterback Khaili Tate has started a clothing line and Arizona State fans are not happy about it. Jeremy Cluff, The Arizona Republic, "Khalil Tate 'Mr. October' clothing line rankles ASU football fans," 19 Oct. 2020

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

3 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Quarterback.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quarterback. Accessed 14 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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