Definition of underhand in English:



  • 1Acting or done in a secret or dishonest way:

    ‘underhand dealings’
    • ‘In the end, it was all right, I was cleared of any underhand dealings.’
    • ‘People who, up to this point, had let things roll by, were suddenly up in arms, venting their spleen, crying blue murder, suggesting some kind of unfair and underhand arrangement had been reached.’
    • ‘There is nothing covert or underhand about what has been going on here.’
    • ‘I feel it's very unfair and underhand - they don't give you the chance to put it right.’
    • ‘Surely it is the politicians that have brought politics into disrepute with their spin culture, deceit, half-truths and underhand dealings?’
    • ‘It all seems very underhand, and we had no knowledge of it whatsoever when we applied for planning permission.’
    • ‘I believe the Council has acted in a sneaky and underhand manner and this is proof we have them worried.’
    • ‘I feel the whole practice of gazumping completely unfair and underhand.’
    • ‘Few put the victory down to underhand influence however.’
    • ‘This would apparently allow players to know their market worth and to find the best deal for them, without the need for underhand wheeling and dealing.’
    • ‘In any event, the fuel levy is an underhand tax with a history of abuse in this country.’
    • ‘Despite some underhand tactics from her opponents, Erin emerged as victor and her smile filled the Guildhall.’
    • ‘You, of all people, should know the nature of my character - I have no qualms over using the most destructive, underhand methods to get what I want.’
    • ‘It is just so disappointing to see him try and do it in this underhand way.’
    • ‘Could it be some kind of underhand marketing strategy, designed to get us to max out our credit cards?’
    • ‘Perhaps it shows just how low local politics has sunk, that everything that happens must be regarded as an underhand conspiracy!’
    • ‘The school cares and has anti-bullying policies, but bullying is often secretive and underhand.’
    • ‘We don't do things underhand to score points on one another.’
    • ‘If he tries anything underhand, he'll be struck off.’
    • ‘Meanwhile two books are coming out soon about the sport's language, amid claims of some underhand play.’
    deceitful, underhanded, dishonest, dishonourable, disreputable, unethical, unprincipled, immoral, unscrupulous, fraudulent, cheating, dubious, dirty, unfair, treacherous, duplicitous, double-dealing, below the belt, two-timing, two-faced, janus-faced, unsporting, unsportsmanlike
    devious, calculating, artful, crafty, cunning, conniving, scheming, designing, sly, wily, guileful, tricky
    criminal, illegal, unlawful, nefarious
    secret, secretive, clandestine, surreptitious, sneaky, sneaking, furtive, covert, veiled, shrouded, cloak-and-dagger, hugger-mugger, hole-and-corner, hidden, back-alley, backstairs, under the table, conspiratorial
    snide, snidey
    crooked, shady, bent, low-down, murky, fishy
    View synonyms
  • 2

    ‘underhand bowling’
    another term for underarm
    [as adverb] ‘I served underhand’
    • ‘So they had me play second base, where I could flip the ball underhand to first base.’
    • ‘While none of the Barry kids took to shooting free throws underhand, they resemble their father in other ways.’
    • ‘Sometimes people think that because pitching underhand is such a natural movement, we don't need to rest and that's not true.’
    • ‘‘Go back to bed,’ a tired Serilda yelled as she lazily tossed a pillow underhand at Kaatje.’
    • ‘It finally ended with the guy throwing an underhand pass from behind the line of scrimmage, then falling on his back at the 13-yard line in exhaustion.’
    • ‘The pass would either be a backward flip as he veers to the side without turning to look at the trailer or a two-hand underhand pass after he pivots quickly and protectively back toward the middle.’
    • ‘He would bob his head, turn his back on the batter, look skyward or into the field boxes, then deliver the ball from a bewildering array of angles, overhand, sidearm or even underhand.’
    • ‘For instance in softball the pitcher throws underhand.’
    • ‘Putting is like tossing a ball underhand, I told her: As you get farther away, you increase your arm swing, using a short backswing and longer forward throw.’
    • ‘One of her thoughts was, ‘on pitch shots, you should have the sensation that you are tossing the ball underhand to the pin.’’
    • ‘He thrived with a peculiar underhand delivery, behind which there's another story, perhaps true.’
    • ‘Almost every player shot a two-handed underhand free throw that started from around the knees, or lower.’
    • ‘All of a sudden, Dayne has become this slow, plodding running back who wasn't fast enough and couldn't catch a ball if you threw it underhand.’
    • ‘This pass is thrown off the dribble, as the ball comes up to the dribblers hand, in an underhand motion.’
    • ‘The floating two-handed underhand lay-up: Can be used by a hard driving guard coming down the lane in front of a closely defended basket.’
    • ‘Fortunately, she chose to serve underhand.’
    • ‘He shouted the score, and hit it underhand over the net.’
    • ‘He could hand off with the best of them and, on the rare occasion he was told to throw the ball, he did whatever it took - even tossing the ball underhand or leaving both feet to get more oomph on a throw.’
    • ‘‘No Clymer, I want you to try serving underhand,’ Mrs. Toth said, sounding exasperated.’
    • ‘And despite underhand pitching, this isn't costume softball.’
    1. 2.1 With the palm of the hand upward or outward:
      ‘an underhand grip’
      • ‘Grasp the barbell with an underhand grip at approximately shoulder width.’
      • ‘Hold the weight with an underhand grip and a rigid wrist.’
      • ‘I use an underhand grip and start with my hand near the opposite deltoid.’
      • ‘Basically, the setup and execution are the same as for reverse wrist curls, except for the grip, which is underhand.’
      • ‘Another great exercise for your biceps is to take an underhand grip on a chinning bar and draw your body up towards the bar.’
      • ‘Now grasp the barbell with an underhand grip, keeping your thumbs below the bar.’
      • ‘Grasp a barbell with an underhand grip, hands shoulder-width apart.’
      • ‘While seated beneath the bar, unlock it using an underhand grip with your thumbs 8 inches apart.’
      • ‘This device allows you to pull the handles into the sides of your waist, again targeting the lower lats, a focus accentuated by using an underhand grip.’
      • ‘Needless to say, I was forced to adjust my back routine after tearing my biceps, which meant switching from an underhand to an overhand grip.’
      • ‘However, I alternate sets, using a very narrow grip with thumbs touching for one set and a close underhand reverse grip for the next set, for a total of four sets (two sets with each grip) per exercise.’
      • ‘Grasping the bar with an underhand (palms facing up) grip, hands about shoulder-width apart, she pulls the bar in toward her abdomen.’
      • ‘For barbell rows, I used an underhand grip and kept my torso at about a 70-degree angle in relation to the floor.’
      • ‘The bow is held underhand with the palm upwards, the up-bow therefore being the stronger bowstroke.’
      • ‘Keep your hands about shoulder-width apart with an underhand grip and fully extend your arms downward and in front of your thighs.’
      • ‘To complete this workout, perform pull-ups - if you have an appropriate place to do them - to hit your back (and your biceps, especially with an underhand grip).’
      • ‘Try these forearm-strengthening exercises: While sitting on a chair or a bench, hold a dumbbell in your hand with an underhand grip and place your forearm on top of your thigh so that your hand hangs over the edge of your knee.’
      • ‘Hold the bar with an underhand grip, hands shoulder-width apart, palms up.’
      • ‘Hold handle with your right hand in an underhand grip, palm up.’
      • ‘Cena hangs from a bar overhead using a narrow, underhand grip.’


Old English in the sense ‘in or into subjection, under control’(see under-, hand).