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See more synonyms for underhand on Thesaurus.com
  1. not open and aboveboard; secret and crafty or dishonorable: an underhand deal with the chief of police.
  2. executed with the hand below the level of the shoulder and the palm turned upward and forward: an underhand delivery of a ball.
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  1. with the hand below the level of the shoulder and the palm turned upward and forward: to bowl underhand.
  2. secretly; stealthily; slyly.
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Origin of underhand

before 900; 1530–40 for def 1; Middle English under hande (adv.) under rule, Old English underhand. See under-, hand


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for underhand

Historical Examples

  • And he recalled his own bootless wickedness and underhand intrigues.

    The Fortune of the Rougons

    Emile Zola

  • You know I don't want to mix myself up with your underhand dealings.

  • Depend upon it, there has been some underhand influence at work.

  • If punished, he would continue his misdeeds in an underhand way.

    Criminal Man

    Gina Lombroso-Ferrero

  • Underhand, clandestine information you get is no more than dishonesty on your part.

    Dollars and Sense

    Col. Wm. C. Hunter

British Dictionary definitions for underhand


adjective Also: underhanded
  1. clandestine, deceptive, or secretive
  2. sport another word for underarm
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  1. in an underhand manner or style
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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

Word Origin and History for underhand


Old English under hand "in subjection," from under + hand. Sense of "secret, stealthy, surreptitious" first recorded 1530s. For sense development, cf. Middle Dutch onderhanden "by degrees, slowly," Dutch onderhandsch "secret, private." The adjective is attested from 1540s.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper