back of one's hand

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back of one's hand

  1. A slap.
    • 1903, Harold MacGrath, chapter 13, in The Grey Cloak:
      "And have that boor D'Hérouville laugh? No! Let him give me the chance, and I will give him the back of my hand."
  2. (idiomatic, figuratively, by extension) A display of disrespect or scorn.
    • 1818, Sir Walter Scott, chapter 11, in The Heart of Mid-Lothian:
      "Out upon ye, Mr. Saddletree!" exclaimed David, . . . "out upon your General Assembly, and the back of my hand to your Court o' Session!"
    • 1860, Anthony Trollope, chapter 32, in Castle Richmond:
      [A]nd the back of my hand to them that have come in the way, bringin' sorrow, an' desolation, an' misery on gentlefolks.
    • 1914, James Joyce, "Grace" in Dubliners:
      "And have you nothing for me, duckie?"
      "O, you! The back of my hand to you!" said Mrs. Kernan tartly.
    • 1984 July 18, Don Meiklejohn, "Commentary: Pepper recalls day he was almost a nominee," Gainesville Sun (retrieved 15 Nov 2013):
      "As I said, Truman showed him the back of his hand rather than any desire to cooperate."
    • 2013 April 18, Ken Blackwell and Bob Morrison, "Snubbing Thatcher's Funeral? No, Obama Is Consistent!," American Thinker (retrieved 15 Nov 2013):
      When German Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2009 invited him to come to Berlin to help celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the Fall of the Wall, Mr. Obama gave her the back of his hand.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Often used, in either of the above senses, with the verb give or show, as in "give him the back of my hand".

See also[edit]