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backhanded

[bak-han-did] /ˈbækˌhæn dɪd/
adjective
1.
performed with the hand turned backward, crosswise, or in any oblique direction so that the palm of the hand faces in the direction of the body and the back of the hand faces in the direction of forward movement.
2.
sloping in a downward direction from left to right:
backhanded writing.
3.
oblique or ambiguous in meaning; indirect; insincere or malicious; wry:
backhanded methods; a backhanded compliment.
4.
Ropemaking. noting a rope in which the yarns and the strands are laid in the same direction, the rope itself being laid in the opposite direction.
adverb
5.
with the hand across the body; backhand:
He caught the ball backhanded.
Origin of backhanded
1790-1800
1790-1800; back2 + handed
Related forms
backhandedly, adverb
backhandedness, noun

backhand

[bak-hand] /ˈbækˌhænd/
noun
1.
a stroke, slap, etc., made with the palm of the hand turned toward the body and the back of the hand turned in the direction of the stroke, slap, etc.
2.
(in tennis, squash, etc.) a stroke made from the side of the body opposite to that of the hand holding the racket, paddle, etc.
3.
handwriting that slopes toward the left.
adjective
5.
(in tennis, squash, etc.) of, relating to, or noting a stroke made from the side of the body opposite to that of the hand holding the racket, paddle, etc.
Compare forehand (def 1).
adverb
6.
with the back of the hand:
He hit him backhand across the face.
7.
from across the body; backhanded:
She returned the ball backhand on the first serve.
verb (used with object)
8.
to strike with the back of the hand.
9.
to hit, produce, or accomplish with a backhand.
10.
to catch (a ball or the like) backhanded.
Origin
1650-60; back2 + hand
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for backhanded
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • “I sympathize with you,” he said by way of backhanded congratulation.

  • Glyddyr turned upon him, and made a backhanded blow at his face.

    King of the Castle George Manville Fenn
  • Perhaps it is only another aspect of the spirit of altruism, a sort of backhanded vicariousness.

    The Complete Essays of C. D. Warner Charles Dudley Warner
  • A backhanded compliment of the acutest nature is credited to Lincoln as a lawyer and gentleman.

    The Lincoln Story Book Henry L. Williams
  • Korman backhanded him across the throat without looking around, with such force that Gibson staggered back and fell.

    Irresistible Weapon Horace Brown Fyfe
British Dictionary definitions for backhanded

backhanded

/ˌbækˈhændɪd/
adjective
1.
(of a blow, shot, stroke, etc) performed with the arm moving across the body
2.
double-edged; equivocal: a backhanded compliment
3.
(of handwriting) slanting to the left
4.
(of a rope) twisted in the opposite way to the normal right-handed direction
adverb
5.
in a backhanded manner
Derived Forms
backhandedly, adverb
backhandedness, noun

backhand

/ˈbækˌhænd/
noun
1.
(sport)
  1. a stroke made across the body with the back of the hand facing the direction of the stroke
  2. (as modifier): a backhand return
2.
the side on which backhand strokes are made
3.
handwriting slanting to the left
adverb
4.
with a backhand stroke
verb (transitive)
5.
(sport) to play (a shot) backhand
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for backhanded

backhand

n.

as a tennis stroke, 1650s, from back (adv.) + hand. As a verb, by 1935. The figurative adjectival sense of "indirect" is from c.1800. Related: Backhanded; backhanding.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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