a criticism that is phrased in such a way that it appears to be a compliment
Related words and phrases:
Two colleagues are talking ...
Colleague 1: So? What did the boss say about your report?
Colleague 2: He said that he really appreciated my hard work but wondered if my time could not have been spent more productively. I am not sure that I really understood his comment.
Colleague 1: That sounds like a left-handed compliment. What he really said was that the report was not very good especially considering the amount of time and effort required.
Colleague 2: Oh. It sounded like a compliment.
Two friends are talking ...
Friend 1: Do you think this outfit is too "young" for me?
Friend 2: Your face is very young-looking.
Friend 1: Thanks, I guess, for that left-handed compliment. I suppose you are right in that my body is not as young as it once was.
Friend 2: I didn't want to say it directly, but, yes.
There is no gerund form for left-handed compliment.
1) At least that's the perception. McCaw has been given a great left-handed compliment by Aussie rugby fans who have labelled him a serial cheat.
2) ... often made in a subtle way. We have all been given the mean-spirited, left-handed compliment along the lines of, 'Oh, you are so adventurous wearing that ...
3) ... one of the best-planned houses of its time, which may have been a left-handed compliment as later writers have decided that the garden front is generally criticised for being ...
4) By way of the left-handed compliment intended to undermine the confidence of an upcoming star, an envious competitor might ...
5) We can only guess it was some kinda left-handed compliment which sorta imploded and went right off-course.
6) ... first part is ostensibly complimentary; the second is insulting. The speaker makes a left-handed compliment from the position of the subject of the statement, ...
7) Everything he says is negative and wherever seemingly positive comes across as a left-handed compliment.
8) A weird kind of left-handed compliment. You're too good for morning TV/you're not good enough for morning ...
9) ... saying you admire someone for how hard they work is sort of a left-handed compliment into saying that they don't have the talent.
10) It's a left-handed compliment to tell me you like me but I'm not worth your nickel.
11) ... advanced level through "negging". That's a technique where you make a lefthanded compliment designed to undermine your target and make her seek your approval by ...
12) ... a pretty plain looking person but I've never once even received a passive-aggressive or left-handed compliment about my appearance from another woman.
13) ... probably make up for it because you have a pretty face. The left-handed compliment seems to be a regular feature of my experience with the opposite sex in ...
14) ... that it was one of the better new comedies of the season -- a very left-handed compliment, admittedly, given what this season has been like ...
15) Just as we can sniff out the true meaning of a left-handed compliment or a disingenuous apology, children, too, scrutinize praise for hidden agendas.
16) ... amuse it's brilliantly, madly, uniquely insane. It seems a real left-handed compliment, but menus are the highlight.
17) ... when I likened you to Goebbels, I was paying you a left-handed compliment: he was an ace propagandist.
18) But these are Sapphire's competitors speaking, so it's best to take that left-handed compliment with a pinch of salt.
19) ... hurt, they can at least get their anger out of their systems with a left-handed compliment.
20) It is not a left-handed compliment in which criticism is implied alongside the praise, e.g. That was great.