Backbite v. t. (past backbit; past part. backbitten; pres. part. backbiting) To wound by clandestine detraction; to censure meanly or spitefully (an absent person); to slander or speak evil of (one absent).
... while Michelangelo's enemies, headed by Nanni di Baccio Bigio, continued to calumniate and backbite. In the end they poisoned the mind of his old friend the Cardinal of Carpi. We gather this from a haughty letter written on the 13th of February 1560: "Messer Francesco Bandini informed me yesterday that your most illustrious and reverend lordship ... — The Life of Michelangelo Buonarroti • John Addington Symonds