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

  • n. Football An offensive back, such as a fullback or halfback, who has the responsibility of advancing the ball by running with it on plays from the line of scrimmage.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An offensive back whose primary job is to be the ballcarrier.
  • v. Present participle of run back.

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

  • n. (football) a back on the offensive team (a fullback or halfback) who tries to advance the ball by carrying it on plays from the line of scrimmage


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • As the British tightened their ranks and the Camel Corps dismounted to reinforce the line, the square could not open fire without hitting its own skirmishing parties, running back before the Ansar.

    Three Empires on the Nile

  • When Keefy was a boy, his greatest passion was football, and his favorite player was a running back for the Minnesota Vikings named Chuck Foreman.

    The Courage To Be Christian

  • Mrs Flint went running back across the pasture, in a sun-bonnet, because she was really a schoolteacher.

    Lady Chatterley's Lover

  • I thought of her getting us all in trouble back in grammar school, and tried to keep myself from imagining all that she must have learned since then—and how she now was using it to pollute the beautiful Ray Jr., who should have been leading me out of that store, who should have been running back for potatoes for himself and me, not for himself and her.

    Hoopi Shoopi Donna

  • Led by a stifling defense, running back Leroy Kelly and the quarterback/receiver connection of Bill Nielsen-to-Paul Warfield, the Browns pounded the Cowboys around the Cotton Bowl like a ten-pin in a bowling alley.

    One Season

  • The award, named for the late Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton, which goes annually to the player who combines on-field excellence with off-the-field community service.

    Brownsville Herald :

  • It set his thoughts to running back to times and incidents, well calculated to relieve him from over-pressure of joy.

    Master William Mitten: or, A Youth of Brilliant Talents, Who Was Ruined by Bad Luck

  • The will of the group was also teetering—in favor of running back to Smith Point.

    Manifesting Michelangelo

  • I called the torrent of self-protective leaks by CIA and FBI sotto voce spokesmen “a misdirection play,” and defined this as a move by an adept offensive lineman: “He blocks his man toward the center; as the defender pushes back hard, the misdirecting lineman gives way, seemingly overcome by the countercharge—as his running back scoots through the hole near the center left by the defender.”

    The Right Word in the Right Place at the Right Time

  • While making no claim to merit on the line genealogic, still I am not debarred, by excessive modesty, from saying that my forbears are of good, honorable, and unblemished record, running back more than a century in this country and embracing six or eight generations of "traceable grandfathers," both on the paternal and maternal side of the house.

    Recollections and reflections : an auto of half a century and more,


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