verb (used with object), back·bit, back·bit·ten or (Informal) back·bit; back·bit·ing.

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.

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 formsback·bit·er, noun

Synonyms for backbite Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for backbite

Historical Examples of backbite

  • 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


verb -bites, -biting, -bit, -bitten or -bit

to talk spitefully about (an absent person)
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