kick·​back | \ ˈkik-ˌbak How to pronounce kickback (audio) \

Definition of kickback

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a return of a part of a sum received often because of confidential agreement or coercion every city contract had been let with a ten percent kickback to city officials— D. K. Shipler
2 : a sharp violent reaction

kick back

kicked back; kicking back; kicks back

Definition of kick back (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to assume a relaxed position or attitude also : to spend time relaxing : take it easy spent the weekend just kicking back

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Synonyms for kickback

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of kickback in a Sentence

Noun Several company executives were accused of accepting kickbacks. Verb I plan to spend the day kicking back and watching television. a good resort for people who want to kick back and watch others exercise strenuously
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Dwaine Caraway’s phone rang as the Dallas City Council member was meeting with FBI agents and prosecutors in his attorney’s office to hash out a plea deal in a school bus kickback case. Kevin Krause, Dallas News, 15 June 2021 Adrian was always going to attend his birthday kickback. Scottie Andrew, CNN, 2 June 2021 Howard County entrepreneur and former school board vice-chairman Brian Meshkin has been indicted in California on federal conspiracy charges, accusing him of a kickback scheme that reaped millions of dollars. Tim Prudente,, 22 June 2021 The kickback scheme, which continued even after Seguin retired from the government in 2017, is the largest military graft case to come out of San Antonio in at least a decade. Guillermo Contreras, San Antonio Express-News, 14 June 2021 Kail set up a sham corporation in 2012 to facilitate kickback payments from such Netflix technology providers as Netenrich, Platfora, Sumo Logic and Netskope, prosecutors say. Steve Rubenstein, San Francisco Chronicle, 1 May 2021 In the triset, complete 12-15 reps of the squat thruster, 15-20 reps of the shoulder external rotation, and 12-15 reps per side of the kickback. Christa Sgobba, SELF, 10 Apr. 2021 Prosecutors won federal bribery and kickback convictions against defendants who specifically sidestepped government insurance programs like Medicare to try to avoid such an outcome. Kevin Krause, Dallas News, 18 Mar. 2021 From June to August, Marc made about $47,000 in kickback for applications submitted by Dorlus, prosecutors said. Andrew Boryga,, 2 Apr. 2021

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


1920, in the meaning defined at sense 2


1972, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for kickback

Time Traveler

The first known use of kickback was in 1920

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Dictionary Entries Near kickback


kick around



kick back



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Statistics for kickback

Last Updated

8 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Kickback.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for kickback



English Language Learners Definition of kickback

: an amount of money that is given to someone in return for providing help in a secret and dishonest business deal


kick·​back | \ ˈkik-ˌbak How to pronounce kickback (audio) \

Legal Definition of kickback

: a payment (as of money or property) made to one in a position to open up or control a source of income for the payor convicted of receiving kickbacks for referrals — compare bribe, payoff

Note: A kickback is specifically a payment for income received or to be received. The word is usually not restricted to a return of funds.

More from Merriam-Webster on kickback

Nglish: Translation of kickback for Spanish Speakers


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