say (something) behind (one's) back

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say (something) behind (one's) back

To discuss, gossip, or remark upon someone when they aren't present or listening, especially when saying something negative. I can't believe you said those things about me behind my back—I thought we were friends! She so arrogant; if only she knew what people said behind her back.
See also: back, behind, say

say something behind someone's back

If someone says something about you behind your back, they say unpleasant things about you to other people. Friends were criticizing his wife behind his back. `Stop talking about me behind my back,' said Susannah, and burst into tears. Compare with go behind someone's back.
See also: back, behind, say, something
References in classic literature ?
'You are the best of creatures - no, I beg your pardon!' for the Doctor made a gesture of deprecation, 'I must say before your face, as I always say behind your back, you are the best of creatures; but of course you don't - now do you?
But the kind of things people say behind your back when you are going through such an ordeal can prove very heartless."
If you think that way I ask you to contemplate what is more important: what your prospects and clients say to you, or what they say behind your back? The latter dominates.
Sarah said: "That's me alright, straight to the point and there is nothing I need to say behind your back as I will say to your face."
Have them say to your face what they usually would say behind your back. If they're giving you the silent treatment, ignore them.
You can miss what some people say behind your back but out on the pitch there is no escape."