behind (one's) back

(redirected from behind their backs)

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

without someone's knowledge; secret from someone. Please don't talk about me behind my back. She sold the car behind his back, while he was away on vacation.
See also: back, behind
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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.

do something behind someone's back

COMMON If someone does something behind your back, they do it secretly, to harm you. It's horrible to have people laughing at you behind your back. He's been arranging all this behind my back.
See also: back, behind, something
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

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

behind somebody’s ˈback

without somebody knowing, especially because they would not like it: I feel guilty about going behind his back and complaining to the boss.People were often very rude about her behind her back. OPPOSITE: to somebody’s face
See also: back, behind
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

behind (one's) back

In one's absence or without one's knowledge.
See also: back, behind
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in classic literature ?
Moreover, among Women, we use language implying the utmost deference for their Sex; and they fully believe that the Chief Circle Himself is not more devoutly adored by us than they are: but behind their backs they are both regarded and spoken of -- by all except the very young -- as being little better than "mindless organisms".
Having been in that house it's impossible not to talk about people behind their backs.
POLICE Community Support Officers should be given more power to fight crime without having "one arm tied behind their backs", the union Unison has said.
TWO-faced Charley and Nicky backed the twins to make it to the final - but branded them "robots" behind their backs.
Teachers, bankers and stockbrokers are worst for gossiping about colleagues behind their backs, according to a new report.
Iranian interrogators blindfolded the hostages and cocked guns behind their backs.
In the article, Salihee and his coauthor document how victims show up at the morgue blindfolded, with their hands tied or cuffed behind their backs. Most showed signs of Abu Ghraib style torture.
"Don't talk about other people behind their backs. If you have a problem with someone, solve it.
Yet few people respect or trust someone who talks about others behind their backs. After all the next time it could be about you.
And Ward suggests that too often British planners have been working with at least one, and sometimes both, 'hands tied behind their backs.' He is equally shrewd and frank in his judgements on the evolution of planning policies in all the other advanced economies, concluding that the next series of planning innovations will emerge from the 'great inchoate cities' of the emerging world.
Opponents face each other on their knees with hands held behind their backs. At signal, each attempts to knock the other over.
They argued that Freddie Mac's attorney intentionally refrained from sending them a notice of the sale so as to unfairly deprive them of the right to file a bankruptcy petition prior to the sale, and that it was unseemly for Freddie Mac's attorney to cause a foreclosure sale to occur behind their backs, particularly after the owners had vigorously defended the foreclosure proceeding.
First, the skeletons' hands are behind their backs with their wrists crossed, indicating they were forcibly bound.
Mrs Partridge, from Earlsdon, who was head of the junior section of the school, is alleged to have been rude about senior members of staff behind their backs during a staff meeting.