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[kik-bak] /ˈkɪkˌbæk/
a percentage of income given to a person in a position of power or influence as payment for having made the income possible: usually considered improper or unethical.
a rebate, usually given secretively by a seller to a buyer or to one who influenced the buyer.
the practice of an employer or a person in a supervisory position of taking back a portion of the wages due workers.
a response, usually vigorous.
a sudden, uncontrolled movement of a machine, tool, or other device, as on starting or in striking an obstruction:
A kickback from a chain saw can be dangerous.
1930-35, Americanism; noun use of verb phrase kick back
Related forms
antikickback, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for kickback
  • Paying professors a dollar per book could be seen as a kind of kickback.
  • Not all countries though have these kickback programs that you speak of as one point.
  • So nine times out of ten, the policeman gets his kickback.
  • Doctor, hospital executive sentenced to prison in kickback.
  • Baseball scouts' honor under fire in kickback scheme in.
British Dictionary definitions for kickback


a strong reaction
part of an income paid to a person having influence over the size or payment of the income, esp by some illegal arrangement
verb (adverb)
(intransitive) to have a strong reaction
(intransitive) (esp of a gun) to recoil
to pay a kickback to (someone)
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 kickback

also kick-back, c.1900 in various mechanical senses, from kick (v.) + back (adv.). By 1926 in a slang sense of "be forced to return pelf, pay back to victims," which was extended to illegal partial give-backs of government-set wages that were extorted from workers by employers. Hence sense of "illegal or improper payment" (1932).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for kickback



Money given to someone illegally or unethically: Buying another poor devil's job for $50 or a kick-back from his pay/ All the cops were on the pad, getting kickbacks from the hookers (1934+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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