Left Handed Compliments | What Are They?
So, what exactly is a left handed or back handed compliment? It's a compliment with two meanings, one of which is unflattering to the receiver. It's basically a creative insult. I was in the grocery store and heard this lady tell another lady, "It's so cool that you don't care how you look when you go out." I was like whoa! The lady she was talking to just said "thank you" and walked off. Wonder if she got it later, or just didn't care. I would be the latter.
This is one of those phrases where “left-handed” is used in a negative or abusive way without any real reason. This expression uses left-handed in the sense of “questionable or doubtful,” a usage dating from about 1600 according to dictionary.com. Another explanation is that a left-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 and being “sinister”.
- A criticism or insult disguised as a compliment, an insult in the guise of an expression of praise
- A compliment with two meanings, one of which is unflattering to the receiver.
- Sometimes, a left-handed compliment may be inadvertent. However, the term usually indicates an intent to belittle or condescend Also called backhanded compliment
- A type of Asteism – Polite irony; a genteel and ingenious manner of deriding another.
And your response!?!?
- No makeup looks good on you. Maybe now that acne will clear up.
- I'm so proud that you're working out so hard! You'll see results one day.
- That dress is everything! It hides your rolls really well.
- I love your hair. Did you do it yourself?
- Congratulations on the new baby! How many is that now?
- It's cool how you don't care how messy your house is.
- That outfit though! You like it I love it!
- Congratulations on your engagement! Let me see the ring. Awwww (in a baby voice)...it's just so cute.
Left me stop! I got a million of them. Watching any kind of reality television will keep you in the know on back-handed compliments.
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