Definition of by (or through) the back door in English:

by (or through) the back door


  • Using indirect or dishonest means to achieve an objective.

    ‘this form of franchising will be seen as privatization by the back door’
    • ‘‘We don't want to come back into division one by the back door - we will play on the rugby field and alter our status,’ he declared.’
    • ‘But too few recognise that voting for the Liberals risks letting the Tories in through the back door.’
    • ‘What angered us last time was that the scheme was being done through the back door and we weren't informed about what was going on.’
    • ‘But the scheme - which has already been piloted in Aberdeen - was condemned yesterday as a cynical ploy to introduce national identity cards for adults by the back door.’
    • ‘They have tried to get rid of the hospital through the back door.’
    • ‘Mickey now says that once he has paid off his debts, he will try to lose all the weight and re-enter Hollywood through the back door.’
    • ‘Totalitarianism through the back door, they create the propaganda then use it to impose the will of the state on our public and private lives.’
    • ‘Some are talking about this as privatisation through the back door.’
    • ‘My concern now is that the powers-that-be will bring in fluoridation through the back door.’
    • ‘But, as the chairman explained, that might be good enough to achieve promotion by the back door.’
    • ‘The government has generally clamped down on ministers visiting the Far East during the World Cup, fearing that they could be accused of sneaking to the World Cup by the back door.’
    • ‘She added: ‘It makes you wonder if by not filling the vacancies the trust is trying to shut the units by the back door.’’
    • ‘They were today accused of trying to sneak a post office closure through the back door.’
    • ‘It is one of six centres across the country that the Department of Health hope will be a temporary measure to bring waiting lists under control but critics have said it is privatisation of the NHS by the back door.’
    • ‘It is obvious this shortfall will have to be paid by the taxpayer - through the back door, by council tax increases of ten per cent.’
    • ‘‘I'm not playing for a new contract, I just don't want to leave the club as a player who never came back from injury, or who leaves by the back door,’ he said.’
    • ‘This is state sponsorship of campaigns to achieve political goals by the back door.’
    • ‘The simple fact is that voting Lib Dem risks letting the Tories in by the back door.’
    • ‘I think the people who voted Liberal Democrat or Green did let the Tories in by the back door on this occasion.’
    • ‘I didn't get to the Olympics through the back door and I'm proud of what I've done although I'm disappointed at my time.’