quarterback (n.)

also quarter-back, U.S. football position, 1876, from quarter (n.1) + back (n.); so called from his position on the field at the start of play, between the halfback and the center.

As a verb, "to play quarterback," by 1945. The figurative sense (the quarterback when on the field typically directed the team's plays) is from 1952. Monday morning quarterback is by 1932 as a noun, "second-guesser of other people's decisions, one who criticizes or passes judgment afterward on how something was done;" by 1972 as a verb; originally pro football player slang for sportswriters (U.S. professional football games typically were played on Sundays).

updated on February 27, 2021