or back-door

[bak-dawr, -dohr]

Origin of backdoor

First recorded in 1605–15; adj. use of back door

back door

  1. a door at the rear of a house, building, etc.
  2. a secret, furtive, or illicit method, manner, or means.

Origin of back door

First recorded in 1520–30 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for back-door

postern, trapdoor, wormhole

Examples from the Web for back-door

Contemporary Examples of back-door

  • In the end, Tareq got to go to California with his wife thanks to a back-door deal he negotiated for a free airline ticket.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Inside the Salahi Split

    Diane Dimond

    September 16, 2011

Historical Examples of back-door

British Dictionary definitions for back-door

back door

  1. 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

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

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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.