un·​der·​hand·​ed | \ ˌən-dər-ˈhan-dəd How to pronounce underhanded (audio) \

Definition of underhanded

 (Entry 1 of 2)



Definition of underhanded (Entry 2 of 2)

: marked by secrecy, chicanery, and deception : not honest and aboveboard : sly an underhanded attempt to gain power

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Other Words from underhanded


underhandedly adverb
underhandedness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for underhanded

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Choose the Right Synonym for underhanded


secret, covert, stealthy, furtive, clandestine, surreptitious, underhanded mean done without attracting observation. secret implies concealment on any grounds for any motive. met at a secret location covert stresses the fact of not being open or declared. covert intelligence operations stealthy suggests taking pains to avoid being seen or heard especially in some misdoing. the stealthy step of a burglar furtive implies a sly or cautious stealthiness. lovers exchanging furtive glances clandestine implies secrecy usually for an evil, illicit, or unauthorized purpose and often emphasizes the fear of being discovered. a clandestine meeting of conspirators surreptitious applies to action or behavior done secretly often with skillful avoidance of detection and in violation of custom, law, or authority. the surreptitious stockpiling of weapons underhanded stresses fraud or deception. an underhanded trick

Examples of underhanded in a Sentence

Adjective the commercial is a part of an underhanded PR campaign to whitewash the company's environmental record an underhanded attempt at infiltrating the other party's headquarters
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Mahomes later used an underhanded forward flip to Kelce for a 2-point conversion after a 12-yard touchdown run by Le’Veon Bell to make it 29-15 in the fourth quarter. oregonlive, "Patrick Mahomes outduels Drew Brees as Kansas City outlasts the New Orleans Saints: Recap, score, stats and more," 20 Dec. 2020 Although not party to the ICC, analysts have questioned China's underhanded influence on the court system, as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council and controversial election to the Human Rights Council in October. Hollie Mckay, Fox News, "Is the ICC corrupted by China?," 23 Dec. 2020 Fennell was stunned, but the casual savagery of the gesture — the subtle, underhanded violence of it — impressed her. New York Times, "Emerald Fennell’s Dark, Jaded, Funny, Furious Fables of Female Revenge," 17 Dec. 2020 Flavien Prat was fined $300 for not using his riding crop in an underhanded position while riding Farmington Road in the ninth race on Oct. 18. John Cherwa, Los Angeles Times, "Horse racing newsletter: Abel Cedillo gets five winners," 2 Nov. 2020 The Diamondbacks were helped when Texas pitcher Jordan Lyles dropped an underhanded toss from Sherten Apostel while covering first base. David Brandt, Star Tribune, "Kelly hits 3-run homer, Diamondbacks beat Rangers 7-0," 22 Sep. 2020 Those kinds of strategies helped drive eBay Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. out of China and have led companies including Alibaba, JD.com Inc., and upstart Pinduoduo Inc. to accuse each other of using underhanded tactics. Bloomberg.com, "Down $290 Billion, China Tech Investors Wargame Worst-Case Scenarios," 11 Nov. 2020 Any underhanded actions will not go well as a sense of right and wrong is strengthened. Tarot Astrologers, chicagotribune.com, "Daily horoscope for November 11, 2020," 11 Nov. 2020 This is true of private homes as well, but agents are less likely to employ underhanded tactics when churches are involved. Rafil Kroll-zaidi, The New York Review of Books, "The Revival of Church Sanctuary," 3 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'underhanded.' 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 underhanded


circa 1822, in the meaning defined above


1853, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for underhanded

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The first known use of underhanded was circa 1822

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Cite this Entry

“Underhanded.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/underhanded. Accessed 15 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for underhanded



English Language Learners Definition of underhanded

chiefly US : done in a secret and dishonest way : intended to deceive or trick someone


un·​der·​hand·​ed | \ ˌən-dər-ˈhan-dəd How to pronounce underhanded (audio) \

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Nglish: Translation of underhanded for Spanish Speakers

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