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 ?
Perhaps as a backhanded compliment to Pollack's slam, Joe B.
In a backhanded compliment, the accolade for the best screen kiss was awarded to two women - Neve Campbell and Denise Richards in the movie Wild Things.
In letter 78 of The Citizen of the World, the Chinese Philosopher pays a backhanded compliment to French cuisine:
A Guardian web headline this week could be taken as something of a backhanded compliment.
So it's a backhanded compliment if rivals like Hibs and Rangers think about us that much.
The way the Blades set up like an away team went against the Bramall Lane grain but was a backhanded compliment to the Sky Blues.
Which is both a backhanded compliment and a problem.
It's a backhanded compliment, but not one he should have to like or lump.
I believe that's what they call a backhanded compliment.
The tennis ace was clearly impressed with his wife's physique as he took to Twitter to pay her a backhanded compliment.
If that sounded laced with malice, his next statement made it clear he was only paying her a backhanded compliment.
MY WEEK Punting high Getting with all-the-way Kempton winner Line Artic, who completed an across-the-card double for jockey Liam Heard (underused and deserves more opportunities to showcase his talents) Punting low Backing everything in running bar Leggy Lad in a maiden hurdle at Naas and getting that sinking feeling looking up at my position to see a thick block of red next to Stephen McConville's seven-year-old Taking the bait I can't believe Binocular has made my Champion Hurdle portfolio, falling for him hook, line and sinker after hearing upbeat reports Backhanded compliment It was nice to meet Galway's answer to Jedward on Monday night, who upon introducing themselves said: "Ah, Matt, we are big fans of the column, but you're not as good as that Tom Segal or Donn McClean.
It is a backhanded compliment of sorts, considering the team's win total a season ago (five) was surpassed early on and could be doubled before the season concludes.