give (someone) the back of (one's) hand

give (someone) the back of (one's) hand

1. To strike someone with the backside of one's open hand. Son, I'll give you the back of my hand if you ever speak to your mother that way again.
2. To reject, snub, or rebuke someone; to display to someone a show of contempt, scorn, or rejection. I'll give the back of my hand to anyone who says I'm not a good parent. He pleaded to be forgiven by his wife, but she merely gave him the back of her hand.
See also: back, give, hand, of
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

back of one's hand, to give (someone) the

To show contempt, to insult. “Here’s the back of my hand to you,” wrote Jonathan Swift (1738), perhaps signifying a challenging farewell. The back of the hand, of course, consists of knuckles, so the expression may once have meant a punch. Similarly, a backhanded compliment is actually malicious in intent.
See also: back, give, of, to
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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