[ bak-bahyt ]
See synonyms for: backbitebackbitingbackbiter on

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).

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.

Origin of backbite

Middle English word dating back to 1125–75; see origin at back1, bite

Other words for backbite

Other words from backbite

  • backbiter, noun

Words Nearby backbite Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use backbite in a sentence

  • We are all friends; of course we are friends, and we all backbite each other and carry scandal and intrigue.

    The Lady of Lynn | Walter Besant
  • Mrs. Portal talked scandal herself and enjoyed it, but she didn't backbite, which is the difference between good and ill nature.

    Poppy | Cynthia Stockley
  • backbite (Sir Benjamin), nephew of Crabtree, very conceited, and very censorious.

  • Even as thou art scandalizing others, thine own nature is being abased, whilst those whom thou dost backbite remain the same.

    The Silver Lining | John Roussel
  • From these though descended our manners are mended,Though still we can grin and backbite!

British Dictionary definitions for backbite


/ (ˈbækˌbaɪt) /

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

Derived forms of backbite

  • 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