[ bak-han-did ]
/ ˈbækˌhæn dɪd /


performed with the hand turned backward, crosswise, or in any oblique direction so that the palm of the hand faces in the direction of the body and the back of the hand faces in the direction of forward movement.
sloping in a downward direction from left to right: backhanded writing.
oblique or ambiguous in meaning; indirect; insincere or malicious; wry: backhanded methods; a backhanded compliment.
Ropemaking. noting a rope in which the yarns and the strands are laid in the same direction, the rope itself being laid in the opposite direction.


with the hand across the body; backhand: He caught the ball backhanded.

Origin of backhanded

First recorded in 1790–1800; back2 + handed

Related forms

back·hand·ed·ly, adverbback·hand·ed·ness, noun

Definition for backhanded (2 of 2)

Origin of backhand

First recorded in 1650–60; back2 + hand Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for backhanded

British Dictionary definitions for backhanded (1 of 2)


/ (ˌbækˈhændɪd) /


(of a blow, shot, stroke, etc) performed with the arm moving across the body
double-edged; equivocala backhanded compliment
(of handwriting) slanting to the left
(of a rope) twisted in the opposite way to the normal right-handed direction


in a backhanded manner

Derived Forms

backhandedly, adverbbackhandedness, noun

British Dictionary definitions for backhanded (2 of 2)


/ (ˈbækˌhænd) /


  1. a stroke made across the body with the back of the hand facing the direction of the stroke
  2. (as modifier)a backhand return
the side on which backhand strokes are made
handwriting slanting to the left


with a backhand stroke

verb (tr)

sport to play (a shot) backhand
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