from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The offensive backfield player whose position is behind the line of scrimmage and who usually calls the signals for the plays and receives the ball when snapped.
  • intransitive verb Football To direct the offense of.
  • intransitive verb Slang To lead or direct the operations of.
  • intransitive verb To play quarterback.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun American football an offensive back whose primary job is to pass the ball in a play
  • verb American football to play the position of quarterback
  • verb by extension to lead the offense

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

  • verb play the quarterback
  • noun (football) the person who plays quarterback
  • noun (American football) the position of the football player in the backfield who directs the offensive play of his team


Sorry, no etymologies found.


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  • Related to where on the field of play the player lines up: a quarter of the way back behind the line of scrimmage. Cf. half back, full(y) back. There used to be a "three quarter" back position. All this according to NPR's Says You

    August 22, 2010