un·​der·​hand·​ed | \ˌən-dər-ˈhan-dəd \

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

The report was released as Facebook fends off numerous accusations of incompetent or underhanded behavior. Adi Robertson, The Verge, "Facebook removed a lot of spam, violence, and fake accounts this year," 15 Nov. 2018 To Francis’s critics, this was an underhanded way of changing the Church’s practice on divorce and remarriage while leaving its official policy officially intact. Tara Isabella Burton, Vox, "Catholic Church insiders are calling for Pope Francis to resign. Here’s why.," 28 Aug. 2018 As a youth, Schwartz excelled in baseball, and shines throwing the softball underhanded in the games. Marvin Glassman, Jewish Journal, "Men relive their youth through JCC summer softball league," 3 July 2018 In the second half of Cleveland’s Game 4 rout in the 2017 N.B.A. finals, LeBron James flung the ball off the backboard underhanded from behind the free-throw line and dunked home the ball off the glass. Scott Cacciola, New York Times, "Kevin Durant Pulls Warriors Closer to Another N.B.A. Title," 7 June 2018 Pitching will be underhanded and players won't be wearing gloves. Hannah Kirby, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "21 Things-to-do in Waukesha County in July," 27 June 2018 When Brady progressed to coach pitch a year later, a time when young players were lobbed balls to get a general feel for how to swing at a moving object, Brett Singer was firing underhanded fastballs to his son. Jordan Mcpherson, miamiherald, "Before his pro baseball career starts, UF's ace has eyes on the College World Series," 14 June 2018 Davis grabbed the baseball and, with Devers in his sightline, underhanded it to his charging pitcher. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Astros grind out win against Red Sox in series opener," 31 May 2018 Down two sets and a break down to the usually unflappable Ivan Lendl, Chang stormed back and by the time he was done hitting moon balls and sneak-serving underhanded, the world No. Chris Chase, For The Win, "15 most surprising finalists in sports history," 28 May 2018

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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The first known use of underhanded was circa 1822

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More Definitions for underhanded



English Language Learners Definition of underhanded

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


un·​der·​hand·​ed | \ˌən-dər-ˈhan-dəd \

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 make faulty or ineffective

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