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a stroke, slap, etc., made with the palm of the hand turned toward the body and the back of the hand turned in the direction of the stroke, slap, etc.
(in tennis, squash, etc.) a stroke made from the side of the body opposite to that of the hand holding the racket, paddle, etc.
handwriting that slopes toward the left.
(in tennis, squash, etc.) of, relating to, or noting a stroke made from the side of the body opposite to that of the hand holding the racket, paddle, etc.
Compare forehand (def 1).
with the back of the hand:
He hit him backhand across the face.
from across the body; backhanded:
She returned the ball backhand on the first serve.
to strike with the back of the hand.
to hit, produce, or accomplish with a backhand.
to catch (a ball or the like) backhanded.
Contemporary Examples

There are three full-time tennis aces on site who are more than happy to improve your backhand or perfect that serve.
Gal With a Suitcase Jolie Hunt February 19, 2011

Historical Examples

The forehand and backhand ground strokes should be hit with a short, snap of the wrist—as though you were cracking a whip.
Squash Tennis Richard C. Squires

It was a casual, backhand blow, but it almost caved in my chest.
Backlash Winston Marks

But he was equal to the emergency, and, to make the disguise perfect, he gave to his writing the left hand or backhand stroke.
The Boy Broker Frank A. Munsey

With this backhand slap at the banker, the young man went out.
The Heart of Canyon Pass Thomas K. Holmes

In forehand play the bowl as it courses to the jack describes its segment of a circle on the right, in backhand play on the left.
Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 4, Slice 3 Various

“F” indicates forehand, “B” backhand, and the “S” is the service.
Squash Tennis Richard C. Squires

He grabbed his cup of steaming coffee, and threw it backhand into Gorton’s face.
Man of Many Minds E. Everett Evans

“Because I once saw Brown writing in backhand fashion on the blackboard in the gymnasium,” explained Fred.
The Rover Boys at Colby Hall Arthur M. Winfield

One of the detectives took the woman by the arm; she jerked it loose and aimed a backhand slap at him.
Time Crime H. Beam Piper


a stroke made across the body with the back of the hand facing the direction of the stroke
(as modifier): a backhand return

the side on which backhand strokes are made
handwriting slanting to the left
with a backhand stroke
verb (transitive)
(sport) to play (a shot) backhand

as a tennis stroke, 1650s, from back (adv.) + hand. As a verb, by 1935. The figurative adjectival sense of “indirect” is from c.1800. Related: Backhanded; backhanding.


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