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to attack the character or reputation of (a person who is not present).
to speak unfavorably or slanderously of a person who is not present.
Historical Examples

backbite (Sir Benjamin), nephew of Crabtree, very conceited, and very censorious.
Character Sketches of Romance, Fiction and the Drama, Vol 1 The Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D.

The first thing old backbite said when he heard of it was, ‘H’m!
Marion’s Faith. Charles King

From these though descended our manners are mended,Though still we can grin and backbite!
The Book of Humorous Verse Various

Death, however ignominious, rather than remorse—the backbite of inwit, in the quaint language of our forefathers.
Happiness in Purgatory Anonymous

He could not backbite, nor envy, nor prevaricate, nor jump at mean motives for generous acts.
The Little White Bird J. M. Barrie

We are all friends; of course we are friends, and we all backbite each other and carry scandal and intrigue.
The Lady of Lynn Walter Besant

I am sorry to be obliged to backbite, but really and truly we dont like Mrs. De Lancey Smythe.
The Automobile Girls at Palm Beach Laura Dent Crane

A parcel of old women who delight in having some one to run down and backbite.
The Claverings Anthony Trollope

They who were most benefited are often the first to most loudly complain and to backbite.
The Toilers of the Field Richard Jefferies

To backbite is to speak something secretly to one’s injury; to calumniate is to invent as well as utter the injurious charge.
English Synonyms and Antonyms James Champlin Fernald

verb -bites, -biting, -bit, -bitten, -bit
to talk spitefully about (an absent person)

In Ps. 15:3, the rendering of a word which means to run about tattling, calumniating; in Prov. 25:23, secret talebearing or slandering; in Rom. 1:30 and 2 Cor. 12:20, evil-speaking, maliciously defaming the absent.


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