back·​hand | \ ˈbak-ˌhand How to pronounce backhand (audio) \

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 How to pronounce backhand (audio) \
variants: or backhanded \ ˈbak-​ˈhan-​dəd How to pronounce backhanded (audio) \

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

Noun She has a good backhand but a weak forehand.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Djokovic faced a challenge in the next game, when Thiem held a pair of break points but netted a forehand then sent a backhand passing try long. Washington Post, "Djokovic tops Thiem for 8th Australian Open title, 17 majors," 2 Feb. 2020 That was her 27th unforced error on the backhand side, part of a total of 56 miscues. NBC News, "Serena Williams knocked out of Australian Open by 27th-seeded Wang Qiang," 24 Jan. 2020 On the second of them, Medvedev muffed one of the game’s tougher shots, a backhand overhead volley. Gerald Marzorati, The New Yorker, "Rafael Nadal Defeats Daniil Medvedev in the Best U.S. Open Men’s Final of This Century," 9 Sep. 2019 Kyrgios picked an outrageous backhand volley inches off the ground and the crowd erupted in celebration as Kyrgios proceeded to take a bow for the fans. Adam Baum,, "Australian Nick Kyrgios has quickly become a favorite at the Western & Southern Open," 12 Aug. 2019 However, the Coyotes would cut the deficit in half when Lawson Crouse beat Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne with a wicked backhand shot in the final minutes of the middle frame. Richard Morin, azcentral, "Arizona Coyotes can't complete rally in loss to Nashville Predators," 23 Dec. 2019 Armia's backhand shot from the right circle deflected off Charlie McAvoy's skate and into the net for his 10th goal of the year 1:58 into the game. Gethin Coolbaugh,, "Bruins win 7th straight, rally to beat Canadiens," 1 Dec. 2019 An arcing, topspin forehand against a piercing, flat backhand. Daniel Rapaport,, "Big Three's Dominance Continues (for Now) After Rafael Nadal Captures Another Major," 9 Sep. 2019 The same wild-eyed action that confused Rodriguez on Tuesday, flummoxed Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma who was prepared to make a backhand play, only to see the ball kick to his left and into the outfield. Gary Peterson, The Mercury News, "Cardinals’ ‘Twilight Zone’ single baffles Giants; payback for Pence?," 4 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Tyler Seguin scored two goals, including the game-winner 2:52 into overtime by toe-dragging around Victor Mete and backhanding a shot past Canadiens goaltender Carey Price. Matthew Defranks, Dallas News, "Tyler Seguin finishes best Stars comeback of the season with an overtime goal against the Canadiens," 16 Feb. 2020 Dell tossed the puck to a covered Burns in the corner, and the defenseman’s weak pass intended for Barclay Goodrow was intercepted by Sonny Milano, who backhanded his fifth goal of the season past Dell at 18:12. Ross Mckeon,, "Aaron Dell, Sharks upend Blue Jackets," 9 Jan. 2020 Thomas backhanded the puck past goaltender Amir Miftakhov with 3:58 left to avenge a 6-0 loss to Russia at their group stage game, the worst loss for Canada in the history of the tournament. Kirkland Crawford, Detroit Free Press, "Two Detroit Red Wings win gold with Canada in world junior hockey tournament," 5 Jan. 2020 Hodges’ drive would have been a home run in most other parks — one of them being Ebbets Field — but Mantle was fast, Yankee Stadium was spacious and Hodges was out when Mantle reached up and backhanded the ball on the dead run. Mike Kupper, Los Angeles Times, "Don Larsen, only pitcher to throw a perfect game in World Series, dies at 90," 1 Jan. 2020 With the teams skating 4-on-4, Vinni Lettieri backhanded the puck on goal from in the slot, and Hershey goalie Pheonix Copley (26 saves) made a stick stop. Staff Report,, "Wolf Pack fall at Hershey in overtime," 1 Dec. 2019 Kuraly corralled a rebound in the slot and backhanded the puck to Chris Wagner, whose pass in front of the crease was finished off by Nordstrom. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Rask, Bruins blank Devils 3-0 in home opener," 12 Oct. 2019 Trailing 2-0, the Wild closed within one when Zucker grabbed a loose puck, moved past defenseman Mike Hoffman and skated in on a breakaway, and backhanded the puck high into the net with 10:34 left in the second. Paul Gereffi,, "After jumping out to early lead, Panthers give up four goals in final two periods in loss to Wild," 3 Dec. 2019 Ten seconds later, Kane backhanded a goal from the slot on another setup by DeBrincat and Strome. Phil Thompson,, "Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat rack up 3 points apiece as the Blackhawks hold off the Maple Leafs 5-4," 9 Nov. 2019

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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Time Traveler for backhand

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The first known use of backhand was in 1657

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Statistics for backhand

Last Updated

16 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Backhand.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for backhand


How to pronounce backhand (audio)

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 How to pronounce backhand (audio) \

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


adverb or adjective

Kids Definition of backhand (Entry 2 of 2)

: with a backhand caught backhand

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with backhand

Spanish Central: Translation of backhand

Nglish: Translation of backhand for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about backhand

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