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Left-handed compliment

Posted by R. Berg on November 14, 2002

In Reply to: Left-handed compliment posted by jim on November 14, 2002

: Would you please divulge the origin of this phrase? Thank you much...

A left-handed (or back-handed) compliment is an insult concealed in an apparent compliment and thus is the reverse of a real compliment, as left is the reverse of right. The left side has long been associated with wrongness; see link below for a related series of posts from the archive ( bulletin_board 16 messages 627.html).

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