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

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
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Steward Health Care System LLC has agreed to pay a $4.7 million settlement to resolve Medicare and Medicaid kickback allegations. Jessica Bartlett,, 9 June 2022 The frustration has been felt by former incarcerated prisoners like Dianthe Brooks, 52, who in 2018 received a four-year sentence after pleading guilty to wire fraud in a million-dollar kickback scheme. Erik Ortiz, NBC News, 3 July 2022 Prosecutors said the largest kickback payments to Mr. Rivera — nearly $690,000 — came from a real estate company that lease records show was linked to his former business partner, Sheina Levin. Amy Julia Harris, New York Times, 23 May 2022 He was accused of supplying false invoices to support the fraudulent claims in exchange for kickback payments that totaled at least $230,000, authorities said. NBC News, 7 Oct. 2021 The investigation exposed kickback schemes involving some of the country’s most powerful politicians and large companies that were awarded billions in government contracts. New York Times, 27 Nov. 2021 Lim testified that the $35 million infusion prosecutors called a kickback was for an unrelated transaction in China with Leissner’s former wife. Patricia Hurtado, Fortune, 8 Apr. 2022 Lim testified that the $35 million infusion prosecutors called a kickback was for an unrelated transaction in China with Leissner’s former wife. Patricia Hurtado,, 8 Apr. 2022 Carlos Alvarez later testified that top Nationals adviser Jose Rijo received a $300,000 kickback. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, 24 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of kickback


1920, in the meaning defined at sense 2


1972, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of kickback was in 1920

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Last Updated

1 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Kickback.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for kickback


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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