behind someone's back


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behind (one's) back

In one's absence. The phrase typically suggests wrongdoing or deceit. I can't believe you were gossiping about me behind my back! Tom will be upset that we already made the decision behind his back.
See also: back, behind
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

behind someone's back

Out of one's presence or without someone's knowledge, as in Joan has a nasty way of maligning her friends behind their backs. Sir Thomas Malory used this metaphoric term in Le Morte d'Arthur (c. 1470): "To say of me wrong or shame behind my back." [Early 1300s]
See also: back, behind
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

behind someone's back

without a person's knowledge and in an unfair or dishonourable way.
See also: back, behind
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in periodicals archive ?
It can help when you need to brag or blow off steam or tell a secret or even talk behind someone's back. Give your diary a name, and begin entries as if you were writing her a letter: "Dear Alicia, You won't believe what happened today...." Go ahead--don't hold back.
"They were all parcelled up into a bag after the race and left behind someone's back door in Beech Grove.
We don't gossip behind someone's back with three or more in the conversation.
You can hide and talk behind someone's back or be up front and say: 'don't do that.' I feel the second attitude is the best one even if it sometimes goes a little bit further than you would wish.
He said: "I'll tell you one thing: whatever I say to the Press behind someone's back, I'm prepared to say to their faces.
But I respected him as a captain because he was forthright and gave his opinions up front rather than behind someone's back.