Definition of backbiting in US English:



  • Malicious talk about someone who is not present.

    ‘members have grown tired of the backbiting in the group’
    as modifier ‘there were backbiting accusations among some sections of the press’
    • ‘It's that world of intrigue, of plotting, spin and backbiting that he will be bringing to life in his new weekly column for the Evening Press that begins tomorrow.’
    • ‘As a result, backbiting and betrayal was kept to a minimum.’
    • ‘He's had it up to here (source pointed at the middle of their forehead) with the backbiting that goes on in the music industry.’
    • ‘Today, however, it looks more like public politics has entirely sunk to the level of petty personal backbiting, where government ministers can be judged on gossip rather than policy.’
    • ‘Of course, by the end of the fortnight, this temporary relative calm will have descended into a tense mix of squabbling, resentment and backbiting, as our abject failure dawns on most of us.’
    • ‘But backbiting by the Opposition leader did not sway the organisers.’
    • ‘‘I have never liked unfairness and backbiting,’ adds Fiennes.’
    • ‘In the absence of coherent arguments, the discussion quickly descended into backbiting and spats.’
    • ‘There was tremendous in-fighting, factionalism, backbiting, accusations about whose guru was on the highest path and so on.’
    • ‘It seems that girls are engaging in more backbiting, gossip and trying to control other girls' behavior; often it becomes violent.’
    • ‘Instead of continued squabbling and backbiting, all parties concerned should now concentrate their efforts on what lies ahead and not make the entire public health profession continue to suffer.’
    • ‘They never use profane language, bear false witness, engage in slander, gossip or backbiting, or even listen to such debasing talk.’
    • ‘The girls changed agents, changed publishers, and were, as you might expect, subject to a certain amount of backbiting and jealousy among the writing community.’
    • ‘All it seems to achieve is in-fighting and backbiting and actually does more harm to community relations than good’.’
    • ‘But people don't know the background of arguments and backbiting that has been going on over the state of the equipment and their refusal to give us concession prices.’
    • ‘In recent years, both councils have descended into counterproductive bickering and backbiting far too often.’
    • ‘I hope he won't let the momentum gained here be drowned in yet more backbiting.’
    • ‘With little to occupy their inner lives, they settle on sophomoric backbiting and relentless self-aggrandisement as the closest achievable thing to an actually mature expression of emotion or contact between two human beings.’
    • ‘He advised people against indulging in backbiting.’
    • ‘Many of them have bad or at least petty motives - backbiting, the desire to gossip or trade in information for advantage, revenge.’
    malicious talk, spiteful talk, slander, libel, defamation, abuse, character assassination, scandalmongering, disparagement, denigration, vilification, vituperation, calumny, revilement
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