Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[kwawr-ter-bak] /ˈkwɔr tərˌbæk/
a back in football who usually lines up immediately behind the center and directs the offense of the team.
the position played by this back.
a person who leads or directs a group or activity.
verb (used with object)
to direct the offense of (a team).
to lead or direct:
to quarterback a public-relations campaign.
verb (used without object)
to play the position of quarterback.
Origin of quarterback
An Americanism dating back to 1875-80; quarter + back1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for quarterback
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Foss, the Ohio quarterback, was the individual star of the game.

  • Roehm, the quarterback, was one of Hughitt's understudies last season.

    News Writing M. Lyle Spencer
  • There came a punt and the Harvard quarterback raced down the field.

    The Boy Grew Older Heywood Broun
  • But he knew that was exactly what the Harvard quarterback intended to prevent.

    The Jester of St. Timothy's Arthur Stanwood Pier
  • I said to the coach: 'I think something has happened to our quarterback.'

    Football Days William H. Edwards
British Dictionary definitions for quarterback


noun (US & Canadian)
a player in American or Canadian football, positioned usually behind the centre, who directs attacking play
Monday-morning quarterbacking, wisdom after the event, esp by spectators
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for quarterback

in U.S. football, 1876, from quarter (n.) + back (n.); so called from his position on the field at the start of play, between the halfback and the center. As a verb from 1945. Figurative sense from 1952. Monday morning quarterback is 1932 (n.), 1972 (v.); originally pro football player slang for sportswriters (U.S. professional football games typically are played on Sundays).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for quarterback



To lead or direct; control; manage: and quarterbacking the rise of Action News at Channel 6 (1945+)

Related Terms

monday morning quarterback

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for quarterback

Word Value for quarterback

Scrabble Words With Friends