backhanded compliment

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backhanded compliment

An insulting or negative comment disguised as praise. She said my new pants really make my legs look much slimmer. What a backhanded 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!

a backhanded compliment

1. A backhanded compliment is a remark which seems to be praising someone or something but which could also be understood as criticism. Saying she's improved comes over as a backhanded compliment. Reviewers gave the play the backhanded compliment that it was `surprisingly impressive'.
2. A backhanded compliment is a remark which seems to be criticizing someone or something but which could also be understood as praise. They were seen as the ones most in need of some culture. This was a backhanded compliment: it implied that they were capable of appreciating the highest works of art.

a ˌbackhanded ˈcompliment

(American English also a ˌleft-handed ˈcompliment) a remark that seems to express admiration but could also be understood as an insult: She told me that my essay was ‘surprisingly good’, which I thought was a backhanded compliment.
References in periodicals archive ?
She would not have been a house n , she would have been a field n ," Chong said, continuing what became a back-handed compliment during an interview for the (http://mattypradio.com/) Matty P's Radio Happy Hour internet show.
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 don't think it was fair of him to do that but I suppose I should take it as a back-handed compliment. ''
They say it wasn't an insult but naming the old bones Masiakasaurus knopfleri is certainly a back-handed compliment.
"If people say it is a back-handed compliment that the big clubs are bound to be interested in our players, then I will take it," said O'Neill.