back·hand | \ˈbak-ˌhand \

Definition of backhand 

(Entry 1 of 4)

1a : a stroke (as in tennis) made with the back of the hand turned in the direction of movement also : the side on which such strokes are made

b : a catch (as in baseball) made to the side of the body opposite the hand being used

2 : handwriting whose strokes slant downward from left to right



Definition of backhand (Entry 2 of 4)

: made with a backhand a backhand tennis stroke


back·hand | \ˈbak-ˌhand \
variants: or backhanded \ˈbak-ˈhan-dəd \

Definition of backhand (Entry 3 of 4)

: with a backhand


backhanded; backhanding; backhands

Definition of backhand (Entry 4 of 4)

transitive verb

: to do, hit, or catch backhand

Illustration of backhand

Illustration of backhand


backhand 1a

In the meaning defined above

Examples of backhand in a Sentence


She has a good backhand but a weak forehand.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Federer shanked a potential backhand pass, and Anderson had saved the match point. Jon Wertheim,, "Four Thoughts From Four Quarterfinals: Rafa-Djokovic to Meet, Federer Upset," 11 July 2018 Three shifts after Washington's goal, Tampa Bay responded, capitalizing on an egregious blind, backhand pass across the slot. Isabelle Khurshudyan,, "Home is hardly an advantage as Lightning even series vs. Capitals," 18 May 2018 Capping a quick transition, Seguin streaked down the slot ahead of defenseman Connor Murphy and tipped in Alexander Radulov's nifty backhand pass at 5:44. USA TODAY, "Stars edge fading Blackhawks 4-2 for 4th straight win," 8 Feb. 2018 Nadal claimed the final point with a high backhand volley, which found del Potro landing face down on the ground in an attempt to go after the shot. Sandra Harwitt, USA TODAY, "Rafael Nadal slips by Juan Martin del Potro into Wimbledon semifinals," 11 July 2018 But Fritz ran off five straight points and won the set when Coric uncharacteristically dumped an easy backhand volley, with a wide-open court staring him in the face, into the net. Bill Dwyre,, "Taylor's upset bid goes on Fritz at BNP Paribas Open, but young American shows promise," 15 Mar. 2018 Shorthanded, Jaret Anderson-Dolan blows by what was a poor Portland power play and his breakaway backhand is stopped by Cole Kehler. Dylan Bumbarger,, "Chiefs 4, Winterhawks 3 (overtime)," 25 Mar. 2018 With Calgary on a power play late in the second period, the puck came to Mikael Backlund on his backhand. Mike Brehm, USA TODAY, "Golden Knights' Marc-Andre Fleury makes great save while facing wrong way," 18 Mar. 2018 Gereffa brought it to his backhand and stuffed it five-hole on Mattone, giving the Red team its 2-0 win. Mike Persak,, "Panthers' Logan Hutsko flashes skill in development camp scrimmage," 29 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Elvis Andrus backhanded the ball and threw out Moncada at the plate. Steve Rosenbloom,, "Rick Renteria blew a big chance to make a big point with Yoan Moncada," 3 July 2018 Less than a minute later, Nicklas Backstrom backhanded a shot past Fleury, who couldn't recover after sprawling to his right with T.J. Oshie coming around the back of the goal. W.g. Ramirez,, "Goalies Holtby, Fleury under siege in Stanley Cup Final Game 1 shootout between Caps, Knights," 29 May 2018 Less than a minute later, Nicklas Backstrom backhanded a shot past Fleury, who couldn’t recover after sprawling to his right with T.J. Oshie coming around the back of the goal. W.g. Ramirez, The Seattle Times, "Goalies under siege in Game 1 shootout between Caps, Knights," 28 May 2018 Now, Gonzalez has become a goalie, backhanding one ball in the dirt, then exploding up and lunging for a Kopech fastball that sails way high and outside the zone. Dan Wiederer,, "On his climb to the White Sox, Michael Kopech searching for a mental 'flow state'," 31 May 2018 Athanasiou, who scored Detroit's only two goals in an overtime win against Ottawa on Wednesday, gave the Red Wings a 1-0 lead just 42 seconds into the game, skating in from the left and backhanding the puck past Reimer. USA TODAY, "Red Wings beat Panthers 4-2 for 4th straight win," 5 Jan. 2018 Her main objective: Crush every forehand and backhand her coach sent her way. Tom Perrotta, WSJ, "The Key to Winning in Women’s Tennis: Create More Offense," 30 May 2018 Dancs scooped the puck away from Northeastern’s Nolan Stevens at the Huskies’ blue line, skated across two zones while fighting off a defender and backhanded the puck into the far side of the net. John Doyle, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan hockey beats Northeastern, 3-2; Next up: Boston U. on Sunday," 24 Mar. 2018 With two outs and the scored tied 1-1, JaCoby Jones hit a ground ball to third base that Kyle Seager couldn’t backhand with his glove and instead struck his knee, bouncing into foul territory. Ryan Divish, The Seattle Times, "Mariners bounce back in Detroit, earn split of twin bill," 12 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'backhand.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of backhand


1657, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1695, in the meaning defined above


1767, in the meaning defined above


circa 1896, in the meaning defined above

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Phrases Related to backhand

backhanded compliment

Statistics for backhand

Last Updated

12 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for backhand

The first known use of backhand was in 1657

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More Definitions for backhand



English Language Learners Definition of backhand

: a way of hitting a ball in tennis and similar games in which the back of the hand holding the racket is turned in the direction of the ball

: a catch in baseball and similar games that is made on the side of the body that is opposite the hand being used


back·hand | \ˈbak-ˌhand \

Kids Definition of backhand

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a stroke in sports played with a racket that is made with the back of the hand turned in the direction in which the hand is moving

2 : a catch (as in baseball) made with the arm across the body and the palm turned away from the body

Kids Definition of backhand (Entry 2 of 2)

: with a backhand caught backhand

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a generally accepted meaning of a word

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