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back door

a door at the rear of a house, building, etc.
a secret, furtive, or illicit method, manner, or means.
Origin of back door
First recorded in 1520-30


or back-door

[bak-dawr, -dohr] /ˈbækˈdɔr, -ˈdoʊr/
secret; furtive; illicit; indirect.
First recorded in 1605-15; adj. use of back door Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for back door
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He went round to the back door, where he thought it best, in the first place, to knock.

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
  • When she had done this she left the back door a deeply indignant woman.

    Her Father's Daughter Gene Stratton-Porter
  • Is there a back door where we can dash out and give them the slip?

    It Happened in Egypt C. N. Williamson
  • The back door opened and Graham came in, Kellogg at his heels.

    The Fortune Hunter Louis Joseph Vance
  • You saw me put the mare into the stable and go into the house by the back door?

    The Cavalier George Washington Cable
British Dictionary definitions for back door

back door

a door at the rear or side of a building
  1. a means of entry to a job, position, etc, that is secret, underhand, or obtained through influence
  2. (as modifier): a backdoor way of making firms pay more
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 back door



also back-door, "devious, shady, illegal," 1640s. The notion is of business done out of public view. The noun back door in the literal sense is from 1520s, from back (adj.) + door. The association with sodomy is at least from 19c.; cf. also back-door man "a married woman's lover," black slang, early 20c.

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

back door

noun phrase

  1. A devious, shady, and perhaps illegal means: The US Government may be able to use a ''back door'' into Microsoft Windows to infiltrate computers worldwide (1581+)
  2. The anus; asshole (1600s+)
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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Idioms and Phrases with back door

back door

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 ]
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® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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