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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from underhanded


underhandedly adverb
underhandedness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for underhanded

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 At issue in both cases is when underhanded conduct may be considered criminal fraud. Dave Michaels, WSJ, "Supreme Court’s Bridgegate Ruling Casts Shadow on Federal Fraud Cases," 12 Apr. 2021 Trump's underhanded attempt at raising millions fast first began in March 2020 when the form to donate to Trump's campaign included a pre-checked box to make all donations a monthly charge. Asia Ewart, refinery29.com, "Trump’s Campaign Is Accused Of Duping Donors Into Recurring Payments," 5 Apr. 2021 Albarado used the crop in the overhand position instead of the underhanded position. John Cherwa, Los Angeles Times, "Horse racing newsletter: Louis Rabaut’s latest Kentucky Oaks rankings," 22 Mar. 2021 Republicans insist that it’s Democrats who are trying to sway future elections through underhanded moves. Todd J. Gillman, Dallas News, "Cruz decries ‘shameless power grab’ in bill to curb state voter ID laws, let felons vote after release from prison," 24 Mar. 2021 Alvarez was able to get the out with an underhanded toss to first base before collapsing and getting carted off the field. John Shea, San Francisco Chronicle, "Giants' spring training observations: Alvarez reflects, Webb deals, Longoria crushes," 8 Mar. 2021 Leaking prejudicial information mere days before a trial is loathsome and underhanded. Chao Xiong, Star Tribune, "Three defense attorneys in George Floyd case file for dismissal, alleging prosecutorial misconduct," 17 Feb. 2021 Donaghy was the latest wrestling ref to side with the bad guy and used underhanded tactics against Savio Vega to pull off the illegitimate victory. Dan Gelston, Star Tribune, "Fix is in! Disgraced ex-NBA ref Donaghy turns to wrestling," 28 Jan. 2021 Donaghy was the latest wrestling ref to side with the bad guy and used underhanded tactics against Savio Vega to pull off the illegitimate victory. Dan Gelston, ajc, "Fix is in! Disgraced ex-NBA ref Donaghy turns to wrestling," 28 Jan. 2021

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.

See More

First Known Use of underhanded


circa 1822, in the meaning defined above


1853, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about underhanded

Time Traveler for underhanded

Time Traveler

The first known use of underhanded was circa 1822

See more words from the same year

Statistics for underhanded

Cite this Entry

“Underhanded.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/underhanded. Accessed 12 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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

More from Merriam-Webster on underhanded

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu jedi training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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