behalf

play
noun be·half \bi-ˈhaf, -ˈhäf, bē-\

Definition of behalf

  1. :  interest, benefit; also :  support, defense argued in his behalf

on behalf of

or

in behalf of

  1. :  in the interest of; also :  as a representative of I wrote the letter on behalf of my client.

on behalf of vs. in behalf of

A body of opinion favors in with the “interest, benefit” sense of behalf and on with the “support, defense” sense. This distinction has been observed by some writers but overall has never had a sound basis in actual usage. In current British use, on behalf (of) has replaced in behalf (of); both are still used in American English, but the distinction is frequently not observed.

Recent Examples of behalf from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'behalf.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of behalf

Middle English, from by + half half, side



BEHALF Defined for Kids

behalf

play
noun be·half \bi-ˈhaf, -ˈhäf\

Definition of behalf for Students

  1. :  a person's interest or support He argued in my behalf.

on behalf of

or

in behalf of

  1. 1 :  in the interest of I speak in behalf of my friend.

  2. 2 :  as a representative of I accepted the award on behalf of the whole class.



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up behalf? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

conspicuously offensive

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time-traveler-quiz-which-word-came-first
  • Which came first?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!