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 In the triset, complete 12-15 reps of the squat thruster, 15-20 reps of the shoulder external rotation, and 12-15 reps per side of the kickback. Christa Sgobba, SELF, "This Resistance Band Workout Will Fire Up Your Entire Body," 10 Apr. 2021 Prosecutors won federal bribery and kickback convictions against defendants who specifically sidestepped government insurance programs like Medicare to try to avoid such an outcome. Kevin Krause, Dallas News, "Elite Dallas spine surgeons get prison time for role in Forest Park hospital kickback scheme," 18 Mar. 2021 From June to August, Marc made about $47,000 in kickback for applications submitted by Dorlus, prosecutors said. Andrew Boryga,, "Lies, kickbacks and many helpers: How two fraud rings got rich quick by raiding millions in COVID relief aid," 2 Apr. 2021 But Steward insists Tulsa's offers more than just a kickback. Daniel Bentley, Fortune, "Could Tulsa and West Virginia be almost heaven for remote workers?," 24 Feb. 2021 The referring partner – The Athletic, Yahoo, whoever – gets a small kickback from the betting partner, Gouker explains. Gabe Lacques, USA Today, "The big bet: Sports gambling has leagues, networks and books desperate for a piece of your action," 10 Apr. 2021 Anybody who is not a union official who demands a kickback out of workers’ wages as a condition of employment is considered to be engaged in racketeering. The Editors, National Review, "PRO? Con," 11 Mar. 2021 The fees were in fact kickback payments that Mr. Rivera then used to pay down the mortgage on his home, court papers said. New York Times, "Housing Boss Who Was Accused of Sexual Abuse Now Faces Bribery Charges," 24 Mar. 2021 For example, the concept of phase kickback is fundamental to many quantum algorithms. Paul Lipman, Forbes, "Welcome To The Future: Navigating The Rich, Intertwined Quantum Software Ecosystem," 11 Mar. 2021

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

9 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Kickback.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for kickback



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.

More from Merriam-Webster on kickback

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for kickback

Nglish: Translation of kickback for Spanish Speakers

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