touch·​back | \ ˈtəch-ˌbak How to pronounce touchback (audio) \

Definition of touchback

: a situation in football in which the ball is down behind the goal line after a kick or intercepted forward pass after which it is put in play by the team defending the goal on its own 20-yard line — compare safety

Examples of touchback in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Texas Tech’s drive began at its 25 after a touchback on the kickoff, but quarterback Donovan Smith completed four passes for 27 yards, and also added a 4-yard run, to move the ball to the Iowa State 46 with three seconds remaining. Creg Stephenson |, al, 14 Nov. 2021 The Sun Devils started the drive at their own 25 after a touchback on the kickoff moments after the visitors took their only lead of the game. Michelle Gardner, The Arizona Republic, 8 Nov. 2021 The ball bounded out of the end zone for a touchback. Jim Lindgren, San Diego Union-Tribune, 12 Nov. 2021 Later, trailing 21-14 on fourth-and-7 with 10:28 left in the fourth quarter, Maryland punted again, this time from Penn State’s 33 (for a touchback, no less). Ryan Ford, Detroit Free Press, 7 Nov. 2021 Likewise, Chiefs safety Daniel Sorensen wasn’t fined for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Rashard Higgins at the end of the first half that resulted in a fumble through the end zone for a Chiefs’ touchback. cleveland, 23 Jan. 2021 Instead, Auburn was given a touchback — apparently without video review. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, 25 Oct. 2020 The kick appeared destined for a touchback, but the ball bounced at the 5 before Money Parks downed it at the 6. Josh Newman, The Salt Lake Tribune, 2 Nov. 2021 Logan Tyler had just two kickoffs one going for touchback. Michelle Gardner, The Arizona Republic, 1 Nov. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'touchback.' 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 touchback

1884, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of touchback was in 1884

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Last Updated

2 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“Touchback.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Dec. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of touchback

: a situation in which the ball is put out of play behind the goal line after a kick or interception


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