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 Company officials had such enormous control some were able to steal millions of dollars through elaborate kickback schemes. Tim Evans, The Indianapolis Star, "7 takeaways from IndyStar's nursing home investigations," 24 Aug. 2020 According to statements provided by Brasil and Giorno, that arrangement later led to other kickback schemes, including one involving Franco Netto and Fiocruz. Emiliano Rodríguez Mega, Science | AAAS, "Massive fraud investigation targets prominent Brazilian health researcher," 1 Sep. 2020 Company officials had such enormous control some were able to steal millions of dollars through elaborate kickback schemes. Tim Evans, The Indianapolis Star, "7 takeaways from IndyStar's nursing home investigations," 24 Aug. 2020 Now 73, Teixeira resigned in 2012 from FIFA's executive committee — and organizing the 2014 tournament in Brazil — to avoid sanctions in a World Cup kickback scandal dating back more than a decade. Star Tribune, "Quarantine order delays FIFA ban case for Brazil's Teixeira," 24 Aug. 2020 In 2018, dodgy contracts provided by a town hall employee led to a lengthy investigation that resulted in Spain’s conservative Popular Party being found guilty of operating a kickback scheme. Raphael Minder, New York Times, "A Spanish Whistle-Blower Appeals to the E.U. for Help," 22 Aug. 2020 The Levys paid an $80,000 kickback through a third person, according to court filings. Adam Ferrise, cleveland, "Cleveland-area father and son among nine charged in $24 million federal coronavirus-relief fund scheme," 6 Aug. 2020 Proove described the kickback payments in paperwork as compensation for participating in a clinical research program, one that used Proove employees to collect cheek swabs from patients in doctors’ offices, according to the plea agreement. Kristina Davis, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Former DNA testing executive admits to doctor kickback scheme," 4 Aug. 2020 Kuper’s brother, a pharmacist, was acquitted in December by a federal jury in Dallas of health care fraud and kickback charges. Kevin Krause, Dallas News, "Feds: Fort Worth mansion burned down when doctor tried to destroy evidence of medical fraud," 24 June 2020

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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Statistics for kickback

Last Updated

17 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Kickback.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for kickback


How to pronounce kick back (audio)

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.

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Nglish: Translation of kickback for Spanish Speakers

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