backhanded

adjective

back·​hand·​ed ˈbak-ˈhan-dəd How to pronounce backhanded (audio)
1
: indirect, devious
especially : sarcastic
a backhanded compliment
2
: using or made with a backhand
backhandedly adverb

Examples of backhanded in a Sentence

We were disappointed by his backhanded apology. “You throw okay, for a girl” is a bit of a backhanded compliment
Recent Examples on the Web It is not even afforded the backhanded compliment of being presented as a nuisance. Rory Smith, New York Times, 5 Jan. 2024 High-end communities have been known to adopt environmental regulations as a backhanded way to limit growth, for example, which experts say can raise the cost of living for existing residents and push affordable housing issues into neighboring areas. The Arizona Republic, 27 July 2023 The opposition sees Netanyahu’s attempts to delay the committee’s formation as a backhanded way to enact part of the judicial overhaul without political consensus. Isabel Debre, Chicago Tribune, 26 July 2023 For months, the default has felt like a backhanded defense of Trump at every turn, living both in contempt and cower of the ex-President. Philip Elliott, Time, 8 Aug. 2023 In the fifth inning, first baseman Anthony Rizzo dived for a backhanded grab of a smash down the line by Seth Brown, then flipped from his knees to Germán covering the bag. Tyler Kepner, New York Times, 29 June 2023 Smith, the Dodgers catcher, made a nice backhanded scoop and lunged toward Drury, tagging the runner in the chest as Drury reached for the plate with his right hand. Mike Digiovanna, Los Angeles Times, 21 June 2023 The backhanded stimulation technique works because your palm and finger pads are way, way more sensitive than the backs of your hands, thanks to about 60 times more mechanoreceptors on the palmar side. IEEE Spectrum, 22 Apr. 2023 Is that a backhanded compliment that hints at less-than-flattering things about his upside? Indystar Sports, The Indianapolis Star, 23 June 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'backhanded.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1748, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of backhanded was in 1748

Dictionary Entries Near backhanded

Cite this Entry

“Backhanded.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/backhanded. Accessed 20 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

backhanded

adjective
back·​hand·​ed ˈbak-ˈhan-dəd How to pronounce backhanded (audio)
1
2
: not sincere
a backhanded compliment

More from Merriam-Webster on backhanded

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!