Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Football An act of carrying, receiving, or gaining possession of the ball across the opponent's goal line for a score of six points.
  • n. The contact, or moment of contact, of a landing aircraft or spacecraft with the landing surface.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A six-point score occurring when the ball enters possession of a team's player in the opponent's end zone. Analogous to a try in rugby.
  • n. The moment when an aircraft makes first or final contact with the ground during a landing.
  • n. A try

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of touching the football down behind the opponents' goal; also the score (6 points) resulting from such a play.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In foot-ball, the touching of the ball to the ground by a player behind his opponent's goal; the play by which this is done.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a landing (as the wheels touch the landing field); especially of airplanes
  • n. a score in American football; being in possession of the ball across the opponents' goal line
  • v. come or bring (a plane) to a landing

Etymologies

From the earlier practice of touching the ball to the ground behind the goal line.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
touch +‎ down. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • "take off yer bandaid 'cause i don't believe in touchdowns..."

    Wilco, I am Trying to Break Your Heart

    October 5, 2007