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

bent [chiefly British], crooked, deceptive, dishonest, double-dealing, duplicitous, fast, fraudulent, guileful, rogue, shady, sharp, shifty, underhand

Antonyms: Adjective

aboveboard, honest, straight

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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


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

An underhanded, ambitious twit rises to the top of the corporate heap and, in the final moments, sets his sites on the U.S. presidency. Jordan Riefe, Orange County Register, "What’s hot in OC arts and entertainment for August," 31 July 2019 As college admissions become more competitive, some families with means seem to be turning to underhanded methods of getting their kids into schools. Adam Harris, The Atlantic, "Trading Custody for Financial Aid," 30 July 2019 Also the idea that Phylos would use its storehouse of genetic data—in some cases freely donated by small growers—to pump up its market value and attract a major industry buyer sounded like an underhanded double-cross. Hannah Wallace, WIRED, "High Drama: A Cannabis Biotech Company Roils Small Growers," 24 July 2019 Keep a level head, and refuse to put up with situations or people who are negative, irresponsible or underhanded. Eugenia Last, The Mercury News, "Horoscopes: June 16, 2019," 16 June 2019 Opponents said the compact is an underhanded way to circumvent the United States Constitution, which established the Electoral College. oregonlive.com, "Governor signs bill to change the way Oregon helps choose the president," 12 June 2019 Tejo players take turns tossing disks underhanded and score points by hitting the bull's-eye—a metal ring in the center of a clay pit—or the gunpowder packets that surround it. John Otis, WSJ, "Colombia Wants to Boost Its National Sport. That Might Mean Less Beer.," 4 Dec. 2018 Who can avoid being seized by cramps, as American Jared Donaldson was in his five-set loss to Grigor Dimitrov on Wednesday, forced to serve underhanded before succumbing in the second round of the French Open. Liz Clarke, chicagotribune.com, "Tennis could have reason to make matches shorter: Your shrinking attention span," 3 June 2018 The forward used the backboard, flicking the ball underhanded off it with a bounce pass. Jayda Evans, The Seattle Times, "‘He’s the future of basketball’: Federal Way’s Jaden McDaniels has become one of the best in nation," 20 Feb. 2019

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

The first known use of underhanded was circa 1822

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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) \

Kids Definition of underhanded

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More from Merriam-Webster on underhanded

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with underhanded

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for underhanded

Spanish Central: Translation of underhanded

Nglish: Translation of underhanded for Spanish Speakers

Comments on underhanded

What made you want to look up underhanded? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move or obtain by small maneuvers

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