back door

Idioms & Phrases

back door

  1. An entry at the rear of a building, as in Deliveries are supposed to be made at the back door only. [First half of 1500s]

  2. A clandestine, unauthorized, or illegal way of operating. For example, Salesmen are constantly trying to push their products by offering special gifts through the back door. This term alludes to the fact that the back door cannot be seen from the front. [Late 1500s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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