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A compliment with two meanings, one of which is unflattering to the receiver: “The senator said that her opponent was quite competent for someone so inexperienced; you hear nothing but left-handed compliments in these debates.”
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Words nearby left-handed compliment
left fielder, left-footer, left-hand, left-hand buoy, left-handed, left-handed compliment, left-hander, left holding the bag, leftist, left-laid, left-luggage office
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
How to use left-handed compliment in a sentence
The gardener was miffed by this left-handed compliment, but he did not venture to resent the impeachment.A Dream of Empire|William Henry Venable
"That is a very left-handed compliment," said the Daughter of the House.John Gayther's Garden and the Stories Told Therein|Frank R. Stockton
Other Idioms and Phrases with left-handed compliment
Also, backhanded compliment. An insult in the guise of an expression of praise. For example, She said she liked my hair, but it turned out to be a left-handed compliment when she asked how long I'd been dyeing it. This expression uses left-handed in the sense of “questionable or doubtful,” a usage dating from about 1600.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.