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
To conceal the kickbacks, Reid and his accomplices described the fees as being for marketing services but no marketing services were performed, according to prosecutors. oregonlive, 10 May 2023 To keep operators safe, this cordless chainsaw comes with an electric chain brake to stop the chain from circling and a low kickback chain to keep users safe in case of kickback, which is when the chain gets stuck or pinched while cutting an object and the chainsaw is thrown back at the operator. Brittany Vanderbill, Better Homes & Gardens, 31 July 2023 This is separate from her indictment related to a federal kickback scheme that took down state Rep. Fred Plump. Hannah Denham |, al, 1 Sep. 2023 Then in 2020, Choudry and his practices settled allegations of kickbacks with the federal government, paying $750,000. Annie Waldman, ProPublica, 9 Aug. 2023 Rougher roads also resulted in lots of steering kickback, the trade-off for the high-definition feedback offered by the hydraulic assistance. Mike Duff, Car and Driver, 7 Aug. 2023 At least 10 of the ex-players paid kickbacks totaling about $230,000 to Williams, authorities said. The Courier-Journal, 4 Aug. 2023 The jury convicted Hall of four counts of paying and receiving unlawful kickbacks, and one count of money laundering. Kevin Krause, Dallas News, 27 July 2023 In court filings, prosecutors said Berenyi concealed the expense of the kickback by including it as a cost in his firm's proposal to Nucor, without the company's knowledge or approval. Quinlan Bentley, The Enquirer, 23 July 2023
Instead of spending a small fortune on a ticket, Hill chose to kick back, relax, and use the view to her advantage. Kelsey Mulvey, House Beautiful, 27 July 2023 Actor Sean Connery kicks back on the set of Diamonds Are Forever in John Lautner’s Elrod House. Anna Fixsen, ELLE Decor, 8 Sep. 2023 Nevertheless, while the cozy Moon in your social zone conflicts with cerebral Mercury in your 5th House of Fun, your friends might prefer to kick back and relax with as little effort as possible. Tarot Astrologers, Chicago Tribune, 31 Aug. 2023 Some people kicked back on folding chairs while others cooked and sold food. John Hilliard,, 27 Aug. 2023 Use the barbecue grill to cook a great meal, check out Siuslaw National Forest, or kick back and enjoy views of the ocean. oregonlive, 27 June 2023 The weekly event is a time to kick back, relax, and lounge around a fireplace on the Sunset Patio, as live music from local bands sets the scene. Patricia Doherty, Travel + Leisure, 14 Aug. 2023 Taking a break from his artistic duties, Joe G., using a speaking device, kicked back to talk about delivering the Plain Dealer over 65 years ago in the Fulton Road community. Gregory Burnett, cleveland, 14 Aug. 2023 Elsewhere, there are plenty of alfresco spaces to kick back and relax. Abby Montanez, Robb Report, 5 July 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 2 Oct. 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
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!