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 backhand (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 The margin held until the eighth inning when, for once, Corey Seager, unable to stop most balls to his right side recently, gloved a ground ball with his backhand in the eighth inning. Los Angeles Times, "Dodgers are stung again in walkoff loss to Cubs in 11 innings," 5 May 2021 Hornqvist put the Panthers in front in the opening period, cutting toward the net on a pass from Alex Wenneberg and slipping a backhand past Vasilevskiy at 15:13. Erik Erlendsson,, "Panthers give up lead in third, lose in OT to Lightning," 15 Apr. 2021 The Blackhawks cut the deficit to one less than two minutes later when DeBrincat fed a backward pass from below the goalline to Kane, who lifted a backhand over Vasilevskiy at 16:11. Erik Erlendsson, Star Tribune, "Stamkos, Palat lift Lightning over Blackhawks again," 15 Jan. 2021 Vrana picked the puck off Sebastian Aho and danced into Carolina’s zone to score on James Reimer on a backhand. Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Red Wings get another goal from Jakub Vrana but fall to Hurricanes, 3-1," 29 Apr. 2021 Playing shorthanded, Patrice Bergeron gave the Bruins their first goal at the 12:02 mark, punching in a backhand off a feed from Brad Marchand., "Bruins scuffle with Capitals, but extend winning streak to four games," 18 Apr. 2021 After a dump-in by Alex Tuch bounced toward the middle, the puck caromed off Nicolas Roy's skate and to Tomas Nosek for a backhand shot by Talbot. Sarah Mclellan, Star Tribune, "Joel Eriksson Ek leads Wild to comeback victory over Vegas to sweep two-game series," 3 Apr. 2021 Letang ripped a backhand over Igor Shesterkin to put the Penguins in front. Blackhawks 4, Red Wings 1: Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist, and host Chicago beat Detroit for its first win of the season. Chronicle News Services,, "Matt Nieto scores, but Sharks fall to Wild," 22 Jan. 2021 Suárez fielded it cleanly on his backhand, but his one-hop throw to second base was too slow to beat the speedy Locastro. Bobby Nightengale, The Enquirer, "Bats cool, bullpen stumbles as Cincinnati Reds' six-game winning streak ends in 8-3 loss," 11 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective After a scoreless first period, Niederreiter opened the scoring 7:48 into the second period, cutting to the slot and taking a backhand feed from Vincent Trocheck before slipping a wrist shot into the top corner for his 16th of the season. Erik Erlendsson, Star Tribune, "Carolina tops Lightning 4-1, tied atop Central Division," 20 Apr. 2021 Critic Roger Ebert offered a backhand compliment to their shotgun approach to filmmaking. David Reamer, Anchorage Daily News, "‘Runaway Train’ is a hidden gem in the history of movies filmed in Alaska," 12 Apr. 2021 Chicago defenseman Adam Boqvist did not return after taking a backhand shot to the face from Columbus' Zac Dalpe in the first period. Star Tribune, "Hagel's OT goal lifts Blackhawks over Blue Jackets 4-3," 12 Apr. 2021 But as Chapman tried to make a backhand play on the move, the ball bounced off his glove. Matt Kawahara, San Francisco Chronicle, "A's trounced by Dodgers, match worst start in Oakland era," 5 Apr. 2021 And with 2:35 to go in the first, the fourth line contributed for a third straight game after Nico Sturm redirected in a backhand feed from Nick Bjugstad. Sarah Mclellan, Star Tribune, "Matt Dumba scores with under a second remaining to give Wild 4-3 OT win over Los Angeles," 27 Feb. 2021 Nielsen drove to the net and tested Korpisalo with a backhand attempt in the opening minute of the game. Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Red Wings lose to Blue Jackets 3-2: Bobby Ryan scores twice, melee in final minute," 18 Jan. 2021 Smith tried, in one motion, to make a backhand catch and swipe a tag on Arozarena, but Smith rushed the play, and the ball squirted out of his glove and toward the backstop. Mike Digiovanna Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Dodgers’ Will Smith explains his view of fateful last play in Game 4," 25 Oct. 2020 In the ninth, Robinson made a backhand grab of a Bench line drive. Mike Klingaman,, "‘I was in a zone’: Orioles great Brooks Robinson’s awe-inspiring World Series remembered 50 years later," 21 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Less than four minutes later, it was tied up, as Pyrtek’s backhand skipped past UNC goalie Amanda Hendry. Ryan Ford, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan field hockey loses national title game in OT, 4-3, to North Carolina," 10 May 2021 Kane made it 3-1 with a mini-break and backhand shot past Colorado goalie Philipp Grubauer. Ross Mckeon, San Francisco Chronicle, "Overtime loss to Avs makes it official: Sharks will miss the playoffs again," 3 May 2021 Černák turned Riley Stillman’s blind, behind-the-back, backhand pass to Kubalík into a breakaway goal 28 seconds in. Phil Thompson,, "5 takeaways from the Chicago Blackhawks’ 7-4 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, including Adam Boqvist’s star-crossed season ending and Kevin Lankinen looking like a rookie," 28 Apr. 2021 The senior forward knocked home his own backhand off a rebound with only 6.7 seconds left in regulation to give the Warriors a 2-1 win and their sixth state title in school history and deny Byron Center a perfect season. Brad Emons, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan high school hockey: Birmingham Brother Rice wins Division 2 in dramatic fashion," 27 Mar. 2021 Cirelli went forehand-backhand with no one between himself and Hawks goalie Malcolm Subban. Phil Thompson,, "Chicago Blackhawks look a step behind in a 4-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning to wrap up a 6-game trip," 20 Mar. 2021 After his initial shot was blocked, Burns corralled a loose puck in the right circle, cut to the middle between three Wild defenders, shifted from his forehand to backhand and beat Kaapo Kahkonen on the far side for the winner. Mike Cook, Star Tribune, "Brent Burns scores late, helps San Jose beat Minnesota 5-3," 24 Jan. 2021 Alternating with Vimael Machin, Chapman snapped up grounders to his fore- and backhand. Matt Kawahara, San Francisco Chronicle, "A's spring training observations: Chapman nears return to third; Reed throws out another," 1 Mar. 2021 He was equally adept with his forehand and backhand. Washington Post, "Tony Trabert, Hall of Fame tennis champion of the 1950s, dies at 90," 7 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Jarvis and Jaydon Dureau on the rush execute a give-and-go, resulting in Jarvis in front of the net to backhand it in. Dylan Bumbarger, oregonlive, "Jarvis hat trick leads Winterhawks to 6-3 win," 24 Apr. 2021 Tatis experienced left shoulder discomfort twice during spring training, once after sliding headfirst into home plate and again several days later after making a backhand play and throwing to first. Creg Stephenson |, al, "Cardinals-Marlins MLB 2021 live stream (4/7): How to watch online, TV info, time," 7 Apr. 2021 That pressure culminated in the first goal at 8 minutes, 40 seconds after Nick Bjugstad chipped the puck past Ryan Graves and then sent a backhand pass to the slot for Ryan Hartman to one-time by Grubauer. Sarah Mclellan, Star Tribune, "Fans come back to Xcel Center, only to see Wild fall short to Avalanche 5-4," 5 Apr. 2021 Thomas Greiss’ bid for a shutout ended early in the third period, when Victor Hedman took a backhand pass from Steve Stamkos and scored from the high slot. Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Red Wings rout Lightning, 5-1, to end 17-game losing streak in Tampa," 4 Apr. 2021 Mike Hardman helped set it up by winning a battle for the puck along the boards and prying it loose for Alex Newhook to backhand it to Boldy, who broke toward the net and knocked it in., "St. Cloud State costs Boston College trip to Frozen Four," 28 Mar. 2021 Captain Logan Cockerill was able to pressure St. Cloud defenseman Seamus Donohoe into turning over the puck, and kicked it back to Wilmer Skoog, who was able to backhand the puck over goalie David Hrenak (34 saves) for the lead., "St. Cloud State ends BU’s hockey season in opening round of NCAAs," 27 Mar. 2021 Donato circled behind the Kings’ net and his backhand shot caromed again off MacDermit and behind Quick. Ross Mckeon, San Francisco Chronicle, "Sharks end winless streak by edging Kings," 22 Mar. 2021 Sammy Walker took a backhand pass from Scott Reedy and blasted a shot past Beydoun and off the post and in to tie the score 1-1. Randy Johnson, Star Tribune, "Rapid-fire goals in third period send Wisconsin men's hockey to 4-1 victory over Gophers," 5 Feb. 2021

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

Time Traveler

The first known use of backhand was in 1657

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Statistics for backhand

Last Updated

15 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Backhand.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2021.

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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 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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