back·​hand·​ed | \ ˈbak-ˈhan-dəd How to pronounce backhanded (audio) \

Definition of backhanded

1 : indirect, devious especially : sarcastic a backhanded compliment
2 : using or made with a backhand

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Other Words from backhanded

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

Quickly ranging to his right, Crawford had to go into a backhanded dive of sorts, briefly ending up on his knees before popping up to attempt his throw., "J.P. Crawford: Glimpsing the Seattle Mariners of tomorrow," 3 Aug. 2019 Fulmer ripped a grounder down the line, but Franco made a diving, backhanded grab and threw to first in time to get him. Rob Maddi,, "White Sox’s wild win over the Phillies features a hitter pitching, a pitcher shining in left field and Jose Abreu winning it in the 15th," 2 Aug. 2019 Microsoft paid Slack the backhanded compliment of copying its idea for a chat application and is now bearing down on it. Richard Waters,, "How Slack’s non-techie CEO Stewart Butterfield reached the top of Silicon Valley," 22 June 2019 Stationed at a normal shortstop position with Oakland shifting on Vogelbach, a left-handed hitter, Chapman raced into medium-depth left field to make a sliding, backhanded grab of Vogelbach’s popup. Steve Kroner,, "Defensive misplays cost A’s in loss to last-place Mariners," 14 June 2019 In a strange way, David Cameron did the U.K. a backhanded favor in calling his referendum. Jonathan Coe, Time, "How Brexit Broke Britain and Revealed a Country at War With Itself," 6 June 2019 The fishmonger closes the deal with a pretend shake of the fin and tosses the fish theatrically to his colleague behind the counter, who makes a backhanded circus catch before brandishing a large fillet knife that gleams in his hand. Corey Arnold, National Geographic, "Why wild salmon remains king in the Pacific Northwest," 27 Mar. 2019 The iPad Pro stats will deliver data as obscure as unblocked shot attempts and successful backhanded shots in shootouts. Geoff Baker, The Seattle Times, "Seattle’s team must prepare for incoming tidal wave of advanced NHL stats," 4 Feb. 2019 The moves are lauded by gun-safety advocates but criticized by the gun industry, which views them as a backhanded way of undermining the Second Amendment. Lisa Marie Pane,, "Gun industry sees corporate activism as new threat," 24 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'backhanded.' 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 backhanded

1748, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for backhanded

Last Updated

7 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for backhanded

The first known use of backhanded was in 1748

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More Definitions for backhanded



English Language Learners Definition of backhanded

: not direct or sincere
sports : using or done with a backhand


back·​hand·​ed | \ ˈbak-ˌhan-dəd How to pronounce backhanded (audio) \

Kids Definition of backhanded

1 : using or done with a backhand a backhanded catch
2 : not sincere backhanded praise

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More from Merriam-Webster on backhanded

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with backhanded

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for backhanded

Spanish Central: Translation of backhanded

Nglish: Translation of backhanded for Spanish Speakers

Comments on backhanded

What made you want to look up backhanded? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a haphazard or makeshift solution

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