Stories We Like: A Guide to the Comma

Rejection or contempt, as in Unimpressed with him, she gave the back of her hand to his suggestion. This phrase is usually the object of a verb such as give or show. [ Second half of 1700s ]
Back of the hand similarly means “an insult” in the term back-handed compliment (see under know like a book).
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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