Monday, February 11, 2013

cliché: a back handed compliment

Meaning: Insult disguised as a compliment (definition)(thesaurus).

Example: He delivered a backhanded compliment by insulting her on the strength of her perfume. (Example.)

Origin: As a synonym for left-handed and the left side of the body considered sinister. (Source.)

  • a knuckle-backed compliment
  • back handed kudos
  • aced an insult
  • a flutter-eyed compliment
  • a slight served to your weak side
  • a slap delivered with a left-handed wink

Discussion: (1) Here, “weak side” and “back hand” can apply to either left-handedness or right-handedness. (2) Also used as "back handed comment."

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