1 of 2


kick·​back ˈkik-ˌbak How to pronounce kickback (audio)
: 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 officialsD. K. Shipler
: a sharp violent reaction

kick back

2 of 2


kicked back; kicking back; kicks back

intransitive verb

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

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
Recent Examples on the Web
Hamas began to rake in taxes and kickbacks from salaries, sale of goods and smuggling, a sum that now reaches up to $300 million to $450 million a year, said Levitt, now at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy think tank. Lisa Cavazuti, NBC News, 25 Oct. 2023 Birth Home, bringing cool, kickback feels with upscale leanings. Essence, 25 Oct. 2023 China’s healthcare system has long been rife with accusations of hospitals over-prescribing treatments to inflate bills or taking kickbacks from pharmaceutical representatives to procure and prescribe overpriced medicines, which in China are distributed at in-house pharmacies. Simone McCarthy, CNN, 24 Aug. 2023 Williams and the physicians received kickback payments from the fraudulent claims the other participants submitted, prosecutors said. Christian Martinez, Los Angeles Times, 4 Aug. 2023 Safety features include a chain brake that halts the chain almost immediately in case of kickback. Brittany Vanderbill, Better Homes & Gardens, 31 July 2023 Freedom recommended a Glock 19: compact, with minimal kickback. Rachel Monroe, The New Yorker, 23 Sep. 2023 The modus operandi, says Adrian Cheek, an independent security researcher based in Canada, is almost always the same: A cybercriminal organization develops a template for a fake crypto trading site and, in exchange for a kickback, hands it to other criminal affiliates who perform the scam. Joel Khalili, WIRED, 7 Sep. 2023 That includes moves like bird-dogs, fire hydrants, squat hops, plank rows, and tricep kickbacks. Korin Miller, Women's Health, 27 July 2023
Many bedrooms overlook Baie de St Jean, and the individual design and quirky art give the feeling of kicking back in a private villa. Angelina Villa-Clarke, Condé Nast Traveler, 17 Nov. 2023 Up in the main salon, the space is designed for kicking back, relaxing, and watching television. Howard Walker, Robb Report, 17 Nov. 2023 Family-friendly Offerings While few children appeared to be on the property during my stay, the resort has a legacy of family-friendly programming that ensures kids can stay active while parents kick back and relax. Sophie Dodd, Travel + Leisure, 12 Nov. 2023 Now the tour is getting ready to kick back off in real life as Swift performs three concerts in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Nov. 9, 10 and 11. Zack Sharf, Variety, 2 Nov. 2023 Despite Brooks’ hopes of getting Nicholson back to work, the screen legend just wants to kick back, according to actor and podcast host Marc Maron. Eric Andersson, Peoplemag, 11 Nov. 2023 Now after nearly four months in limbo, Marvel Studios is planning to kick back into high gear, with filming set to get up and running before Thanksgiving break. J. Kim Murphy, Variety, 10 Nov. 2023 The youngest recruits to businesses may well not want to drink at all, thus alienating them from older managers who like to kick back with a tipple. Byeleanor Pringle, Fortune, 10 Nov. 2023 Imagine kicking back in a hammock set high on a stargazer platform in an open pine savannah. Evie Carrick, Travel + Leisure, 3 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'kickback.' 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


1920, in the meaning defined at sense 2


1972, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of kickback was in 1920

Dictionary Entries Near kickback

kick back



Cite this Entry

“Kickback.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
kick·​back ˈkik-ˌbak How to pronounce kickback (audio)
: a secret return of part of a sum of money received

kick back

2 of 2 verb

Legal Definition


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

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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