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See also: under-handed



Alternative formsEdit


under- +‎ handed


underhanded (comparative more underhanded, superlative most underhanded)

  1. Done by moving the hand (and arm) from below.
    • 2011, Edward A Tischler, The Way Of The Golfer: Searching For New Horizons, →ISBN, page 25:
      Golf is an underhanded game, because we must swing the club in an underhanded motion in order to play the ball off the ground.
  2. Sly, dishonest, corrupt, cheating.
    • 2007, Dewey Anderson, When Satan Came to Moose Lake, →ISBN, page 118:
      They were actually underhanded threats to call off the lawsuit and then all insurance agents in the hospital district would get a dividend for the premiums paid.
    • 2009, Alain-G. Gagnon, Contemporary Canadian Federalism, →ISBN:
      Was the federal government being underhanded and hypocritical in officially praising the merits of federalism, but in missing no opportunity to promote Canadian nationalism?
    • 2010, Al Walentis & ‎Polly Kahl, The Secret World of Jon and Kate, →ISBN, page 152:
      The pap phoned and we told him that Kirschner probably peddled them himself and now was accusing you of acting underhanded so he did not have out to pay out any more dough.
    • 2014, Carl Douglass, The Long Climb, →ISBN:
      There were underhanded ploys that were effective but were deplored by the hospital administration.
    His underhanded trick backfired and he was disqualified.
  3. Insincere; sarcastic.
    • 2012, Hanne Blank, The Unapologetic Fat Girl's Guide to Exercise and Other Incendiary Acts, →ISBN, page 56:
      Of course, sometimes compliments just aren't really compliments. Underhanded compliments are, for better or worse, nothing new or unusual.
    • 2013, Charmaine Ross, Makeover Miracle, →ISBN:
      Poking underhanded fun at the contestants live on stage was absolutely inexcusable.
    • 2014, Julie Levinson, Alexander Payne: Interviews, →ISBN:
      “Have you seen my film?” He's asking about Election, his deliriously sardonic and underhanded satire of politics and high school culture that follows trepidatious government teacher (Matthew Broderick) through increasingly bizarre attempts to sideline a senior's fanatical student body presidential campaign.
    An underhanded compliment is actually criticism.
  4. Secret; surreptitious.
    • 1903, Arthur Wellington Brayley, ‎Arthur Wilson Tarbell, ‎& Joe Mitchell Chapple, National Magazine - Volume 19, page 493:
      And, although the mystery of an unsigned note rather thrilled her, it seemed underhanded. And June hated underhanded things.
    • 1918, Cambrian ... Published in the Interest of the Welsh People and Their Descendants in the United States Volume 38:
      A general agreement should be made among the nations, that henceforth, all underhanded diplomatic agreements be abolished, and that complete publicity be observed in discussing and transacting international affairs.
    • 2011, Celine Flux, Sit-Ups and Supersex, →ISBN, page 289:
      He moved in closer, covertly noticing Vienna's underhanded peek.
  5. Understaffed.
    • 1877, Charles Rathbone Low, History of the Indian Navy: (1613-1863), page 209:
      Between 9.30, when the first shot was fired, and 11.45 a.m., the enemy, well aware of his vast superiority in men — the ' Intrepid,' being, as was usual with the Company's cruisers, underhanded — made two attempts to run her on board and throw an overpowering force on the brig's decks.
    • 2008, H. De Vere Stacpoole, Satan: a Story of the Sea King's Country, →ISBN, page 51:
      Jude and me can make out to work the boat and get a livin', but we're too underhanded for a big job.
    • 2012, Christopher Taylor, The Black Carib Wars: Freedom, Survival, and the Making of the Garifuna, page 1617033111:
      The government believed that most plantations in St. Vincent were “underhanded” and the phenomenon of runaways, or marronage, only exacerbated the problem.


Derived termsEdit



underhanded (comparative more underhanded, superlative most underhanded)

  1. In an underhanded manner.
    • 2009, Patrick M. Sheridan, How Come Nothing Ever Kills Granddad?, →ISBN:
      Bonino required each of us to shoot our free throws underhanded.
    • 2011, Xiaoxing Chen, Three-Finger Zen: A Basketball Revolution, →ISBN, page 54:
      The 3fz one-hand-only shooting mechanism allows players to shoot the basketball up-handed by pronating palm (down) and uplifting the arm, as well as underhanded by supinating palm (up) and low-hand Unishots.





  1. simple past tense and past participle of underhand


the underhanded pl (plural only)

  1. Devious people, collectively.
    • 2002, Anthony D. Darden, The Mind of Mafia Work, →ISBN, page 91:
      We have fallen to the underhanded and label it a greater means.
    • 2005, Thomas R. Walsh, Fighting Words and Feuding Words: Anger and the Homeric Poems, →ISBN:
      The kind of kho'los that comes from unfair dealings, culturally unacceptable practices that bring rewards to the underhanded can, on Odysseus's (and Agamemnon's) terms, be set aside.
    • 2010, Martin Heidegger, Being and Truth, →ISBN, page 87:
      But this is not what is decisive, as it also applies to the distrustful, the underhanded, and the “deranged."