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backbite

[bak-bahyt]
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verb (used with object), back·bit, back·bit·ten or (Informal) back·bit; back·bit·ing.
  1. to attack the character or reputation of (a person who is not present).
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verb (used without object), back·bit, back·bit·ten or (Informal) back·bit; back·bit·ing.
  1. to speak unfavorably or slanderously of a person who is not present.
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Origin of backbite

Middle English word dating back to 1125–75; see origin at back1, bite
Related formsback·bit·er, noun

Synonyms

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1. belittle, disparage, deprecate; slander, libel, defame.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for backbite

Historical Examples

  • The first thing old Backbite said when he heard of it was, 'H'm!

    Marion's Faith.

    Charles King

  • They who were most benefited are often the first to most loudly complain and to backbite.

    The Toilers of the Field

    Richard Jefferies

  • Besides, the way people gossip and backbite is the very devil!

    Three Comedies

    Bjrnstjerne M. Bjrnson

  • To backbite is to speak something secretly to one's injury; to calumniate is to invent as well as utter the injurious charge.

    English Synonyms and Antonyms

    James Champlin Fernald

  • I am sorry to be obliged to backbite, but really and truly we dont like Mrs. De Lancey Smythe.


British Dictionary definitions for backbite

backbite

verb -bites, -biting, -bit, -bitten or -bit
  1. to talk spitefully about (an absent person)
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Derived Formsbackbiter, noun
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