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

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Officials didn't see it, however, allowing the rookie to keep his touchdown instead of a 49ers touchback. Jr Radcliffe, Journal Sentinel, 3 Jan. 2023 Waltzing down the left sideline for a long touchdown that would’ve given Serra a comfortable lead, the ball slipped out of Rhaney’s hands at the one-yard line, giving Amat possession after a touchback. Los Angeles Times, 7 Oct. 2022 Utah starts from its 25 after a touchback. oregonlive, 1 Oct. 2022 The play wound up being a touchback. Scott Horner, The Indianapolis Star, 25 Oct. 2021 Ward was injured blocking on the opening kickoff, which was a touchback. Eric Branch, San Francisco Chronicle, 10 Oct. 2022 The most notable turnover this season was produced by Taylor-Demerson, who forced a fumble against NC State that went through the end zone and resulted in a touchback. Dallas News, 19 Sep. 2022 Why reward a muffed punt with a touchback? Dave Hyde,, 31 Oct. 2021 Long had a 37-yard punt that resulted in a fair catch at the Baltimore 10-yard line, a 69-yarder returned 14 yards to the Baltimore 26, a 53-yarder returned 13 yards to the Baltimore 28, a 57-yarder returned 17 yards to the Baltimore 35 and a 46-yarder that resulted in a touchback. Mark Inabinett |, al, 18 Oct. 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'touchback.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1884, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of touchback was in 1884

Dictionary Entries Near touchback

Cite this Entry

“Touchback.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


touch·​back ˈtəch-ˌbak How to pronounce touchback (audio)
: the act of downing a football behind the goal line after receiving a kick or intercepting a pass
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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