Left-handed compliment

Definitions

  • Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • Left-handed compliment a saying intended to seem a compliment, but in reality the reverse
    • ***

Idioms

Left-handed compliment - A left-handed compliment is one that sounds like praise but has an insulting meaning. ('Backhanded compliment' is an alternative form.)
***

Etymology

Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Fr. compliment—L. complementum. See Comply.

Usage

In literature:

He's left compliments on my hands that no decent man would.
"The March Family Trilogy, Complete" by William Dean Howells
Lady Sellingworth knew as well as any woman which compliments are left-handed and which are not.
"December Love" by Robert Hichens
She but turned round, and saw him take my hand, which he did with a compliment that made me proud, and left us together.
"The World's Greatest Books, Vol VII" by Various
To them, the compliment seemed to have been delivered with the left hand.
"The Real Adventure" by Henry Kitchell Webster
To say they were self-made, would be paying the Almighty a left-handed compliment.
"The Memories of Fifty Years" by William H. Sparks
Let no modern and malicious mind take this declaration for a left-handed compliment.
"When Winter Comes to Main Street" by Grant Martin Overton
She complimented Miss Hendry on her elegant appearance and admired Miss Flora's hand-made collar, and left them both beaming.
"The Setons" by O. Douglas
***