1. Secret or surreptitious; clandestine: a backdoor romance.
2. Devious or underhanded: "Many assail temping as a backdoor way to create a two-tier work force" (Steven Greenhouse).
3. Sports Of or directed toward a player who has slipped behind the opposing defense: a backdoor pass.
1. An unofficial and often improper entrance or channel: Most of the campaign money came through the backdoor. Every admissions process has a backdoor.
2. A means of access to a computer system that allows unauthorized users to circumvent normal authentication procedures.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.