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Posted by R. Berg on December 10, 2001

In Reply to: "backhanded - lefthanded - mollyduker" posted by capable on December 10, 2001 at

: : : : (see subject)

: : : : Thanks,
: : : : KC

: : : Definition of "backhanded," sense 3, in the American Heritage Dictionary: "Containing a disguised insult or rebuke." Example of a backhanded compliment: "Such a nice new dress--it does wonders for your figure."

: : I have heard it called a "left-handed compliment."

: Just learnt a new (albeit slang) word from my Australian mate Mollyduker meaning lefthanded - but can anyone sugest an origin for this?

Maybe this entry in Eric Partridge's Dictionary of Catch Phrases: American and British, from the Sixteenth Century to the Present Day is behind it:

"backwards, the way Mollie went to church," or with 'backwards' omitted. She DIDN'T go; hence, 'reverse what has just been said!': Anglo-Irish wit: C20.

The "duker" component suggests fisticuffs. So molly + duker = backward puncher = one who hits with the "opposite" hand. Just a hypothesis, but plausible.

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