Definition of underhand in US English:



  • 1(of a throw or stroke in sports) made with the arm or hand below shoulder level.

    ‘he has a surprisingly good motion, more sidearm than underhand’
    as adverb ‘I served 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This pass is thrown off the dribble, as the ball comes up to the dribblers hand, in an underhand motion.’
    • ‘‘Go back to bed,’ a tired Serilda yelled as she lazily tossed a pillow underhand at Kaatje.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘While none of the Barry kids took to shooting free throws underhand, they resemble their father in other ways.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Sometimes people think that because pitching underhand is such a natural movement, we don't need to rest and that's not true.’
    • ‘And despite underhand pitching, this isn't costume softball.’
    • ‘Almost every player shot a two-handed underhand free throw that started from around the knees, or lower.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He shouted the score, and hit it underhand over the net.’
    • ‘For instance in softball the pitcher throws underhand.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Fortunately, she chose to serve underhand.’
    • ‘So they had me play second base, where I could flip the ball underhand to first base.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘‘No Clymer, I want you to try serving underhand,’ Mrs. Toth said, sounding exasperated.’
    1. 1.1 With the palm of the hand upward or outward.
      ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Another great exercise for your biceps is to take an underhand grip on a chinning bar and draw your body up towards the bar.’
      • ‘Grasp a barbell with an underhand grip, hands shoulder-width apart.’
      • ‘Grasping the bar with an underhand (palms facing up) grip, hands about shoulder-width apart, she pulls the bar in toward her abdomen.’
      • ‘Keep your hands about shoulder-width apart with an underhand grip and fully extend your arms downward and in front of your thighs.’
      • ‘While seated beneath the bar, unlock it using an underhand grip with your thumbs 8 inches apart.’
      • ‘Hold the weight with an underhand grip and a rigid wrist.’
      • ‘Now grasp the barbell with an underhand grip, keeping your thumbs below the bar.’
      • ‘I use an underhand grip and start with my hand near the opposite deltoid.’
      • ‘Hold handle with your right hand in an underhand grip, palm up.’
      • ‘Basically, the setup and execution are the same as for reverse wrist curls, except for the grip, which is underhand.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Grasp the barbell with an underhand grip at approximately shoulder width.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Cena hangs from a bar overhead using a narrow, underhand grip.’
      • ‘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).’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Hold the bar with an underhand grip, hands shoulder-width apart, palms up.’
  • 2

    ‘Laura would never agree to anything that smacked of underhand snooping’
    another term for underhanded
    • ‘I feel the whole practice of gazumping completely unfair and underhand.’
    • ‘If he tries anything underhand, he'll be struck off.’
    • ‘Surely it is the politicians that have brought politics into disrepute with their spin culture, deceit, half-truths and underhand dealings?’
    • ‘Few put the victory down to underhand influence however.’
    • ‘It all seems very underhand, and we had no knowledge of it whatsoever when we applied for planning permission.’
    • ‘I feel it's very unfair and underhand - they don't give you the chance to put it right.’
    • ‘We don't do things underhand to score points on one another.’
    • ‘Could it be some kind of underhand marketing strategy, designed to get us to max out our credit cards?’
    • ‘Despite some underhand tactics from her opponents, Erin emerged as victor and her smile filled the Guildhall.’
    • ‘Meanwhile two books are coming out soon about the sport's language, amid claims of some underhand play.’
    • ‘It is just so disappointing to see him try and do it in this underhand way.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘There is nothing covert or underhand about what has been going on here.’
    • ‘In the end, it was all right, I was cleared of any underhand dealings.’
    • ‘In any event, the fuel levy is an underhand tax with a history of abuse in this country.’
    • ‘Perhaps it shows just how low local politics has sunk, that everything that happens must be regarded as an underhand conspiracy!’
    • ‘I believe the Council has acted in a sneaky and underhand manner and this is proof we have them worried.’
    • ‘The school cares and has anti-bullying policies, but bullying is often secretive and underhand.’
    • ‘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.’
    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
    View synonyms


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