[haf-bak, hahf-]
See more synonyms for halfback on Thesaurus.com
  1. Football.
    1. one of two backs who typically line up on each side of the fullback.
    2. the position played by such a back.
  2. (in soccer, Rugby, field hockey, etc.) a player stationed near the forward line to carry out chiefly offensive duties.

Origin of halfback

First recorded in 1880–85; half + back1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for halfback

halfback, tailback, fullback, slotback, wingback

Examples from the Web for halfback

Historical Examples of halfback

  • But no halfback was ever so elusive as this infernal college.

    At Good Old Siwash

    George Fitch

  • Down the field a Princeton halfback had caught the ball and was squirming back.

    Stover at Yale

    Owen Johnson

  • I was down stairs in three shakes, and I went through a waiter like a halfback to do it.

    The Lash

    Olin L. Lyman

  • He suffers like an All-America halfback playing on a scrub team.

    Pieces of Hate

    Heywood Broun

  • Miller, the great Indian halfback, had scored a touchdown, after a long run.

    Football Days

    William H. Edwards

British Dictionary definitions for halfback


  1. rugby either the scrum half or the stand-off half
  2. soccer old-fashioned any of three players positioned behind the line of forwards and in front of the fullbacks
  3. any of certain similar players in other team sports
  4. the position of a player who is halfback
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