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 backbiter

Historical Examples of backbiter

  • The flatterer, the backbiter, the spy,—these find here a rich soil.

  • 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.

British Dictionary definitions for backbiter


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