back-handed compliment

back-handed compliment

An insulting or negative comment disguised as praise. She said my new pants really make my legs look much slimmer. What a back-handed compliment!
See also: compliment

backhanded compliment

 and left-handed compliment
an unintended or ambiguous compliment. Backhanded compliments are the only kind he ever gives! And I think his left-handed compliments are all given by accident, too!
References in periodicals archive ?
David Cameron chickening out of a gladiatorial TV debate is a back-handed compliment for the Labour leader.
I know you are an exceptionally clever man and no-one is more aware of your cleverness than you" - Commons Speaker John Bercow's back-handed compliment to Labour MP Chris Bryant.
I know you are an exceptionally clever man, and no one is more aware of your cleverness than you" - Commons Speaker John Bercow's back-handed compliment to Labour MP Chris Bryant.
I have had so many over the years, I am almost immune to it" TV weather presenter Carol Kirkwood, above, on men who send her explicit pictures of themselves through the post "It is the sort of place that throws a tanned arm around one's shoulder, gives you a matey squeeze and bungs you an ice-cold tinny" Food writer Tom Parker-Bowles, son of the Duchess of Cornwall, sings the praises of Sydney "I know you are an exceptionally clever man, and no-one is more aware of your cleverness than you" Commons Speaker John Bercow's back-handed compliment to Labour MP Chris Bryant
He has always maintained that the comment was taken out of context - in that it was meant to be a back-handed compliment - and six years on he insists there are no issues between the teams.
WASPSW boss Dai Young paid Saracens a back-handed compliment after seeing his side suf-pliment suf fer a 26-17 defeat at the Ricoh Arena that pushed them down to sixth position in the Aviva Premiership.
To note, during the trash-talking between the two in the Rockets-Lakers tiff after Howard hit Bryant with the elbow to the chin, Bryant was seen calling Howard, "soft" and thus supporting the supposed back-handed compliment on calling the Rockets big man a "teddy bear".
THE DETECTORISTS (10pm BBC4) THE term "gentle comedy" has become a bit of a back-handed compliment, to describe something that's well intentioned, but disappointingly short on actual laughs.
THE DETECTORISTS (10pm BBC4) THE term "gentle comedy" has become a bit of a back-handed compliment, to describe some thing that's well intentioned, but disappointingly short on actual laughs.
They're very popular, and with many of the older ones still in service today, the fact that they're such a target for thieves is almost like a back-handed compliment to their quality," the New York Daily News quoted a NICB spokesman, as saying.
England have laughed off Lievremont's jibe, with fly-half Toby Flood revealing the squad interpreted the special attention as a back-handed compliment.
On this occasion, Johnson accepted the assertion that Lievremont had delivered his fast-improving England team a back-handed compliment.
I suppose it's a back-handed compliment that Celtic seem to get worked up against us.
VILLA boss Martin O'Neill insists he took Chelsea's time-wasting tactics as a back-handed compliment - despite it infuriating him on the touchline.
I think players likeEmile would take it as a back-handed compliment because he was brilliant in that game.