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 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 Bearden used false information about existing and non-existing businesses, and the name of third parties in return for a kickback of a portion of the funds received, prosecutors say. Cliff Pinckard, cleveland, 24 Feb. 2022 After a competitor submitted a lower bid, the supplier who paid the bribe revised its proposal, and So then recommended that GM executives award the contract to the company that paid the kickback, according to the indictment. Michael Finnegan, Los Angeles Times, 24 Mar. 2022 Finally, Cavaliere recommends the tricep kickback as a way of ensuring the long head of the tricep reaches peak contraction. Philip Ellis, Men's Health, 8 Mar. 2022 For those using plastic, one incentive could be the kickback of rewards for spending. Grace L. Williams, Forbes, 31 Jan. 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

21 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Kickback.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 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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