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[bak-bahyt] /ˈbækˌbaɪt/
verb (used with object), backbit, backbitten or (Informal) backbit; backbiting.
to attack the character or reputation of (a person who is not present).
verb (used without object), backbit, backbitten or (Informal) backbit; backbiting.
to speak unfavorably or slanderously of a person who is not present.
Origin of backbite
Middle English word dating back to 1125-75; See origin at back1, bite
Related forms
backbiter, noun
1. belittle, disparage, deprecate; slander, libel, defame. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for backbiter
Historical Examples
  • The flatterer, the backbiter, the spy,—these find here a rich soil.

    Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist Alexander Berkman
  • That's an end to backbiter, the best horse 'twixt Pedee and the Savannah.

    Horse-Shoe Robinson

    John Pendleton Kennedy
  • Every one has his opportunity, and this robs the plotter and backbiter of his venom.

  • Nobody could call him a detractor or a backbiter or a talebearer or a liar.

    Bunyan Characters Alexander Whyte
  • There is yet one who is numbered among the asas, but whom some call the backbiter of the asas.

  • Would the slanderer, or backbiter, or hypocrite, indulge their habits if they realized this truth?

  • As to backbiter, the rat-tailed and spavined bone-setter, curse me if I would have him as a gift: a noble beast!

    Horse-Shoe Robinson

    John Pendleton Kennedy
  • It was therefore agreeable to find one of the Mystery detractors actually named backbiter.

    The Grotesque in Church Art T. Tindall Wildridge
  • I know thee for a liar, a deceiver, a backbiter, and a spirit of insatiable malevolence.

  • The widow was no gossip, no backbiter, but a woman of opinions and a nimble tongue undeterred by fear or favor.

    Sudden Jim Clarence Budington Kelland
British Dictionary definitions for backbiter


verb -bites, -biting, -bit, -bitten, -bit
to talk spitefully about (an absent person)
Derived Forms
backbiter, 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
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