be·​half | \ bi-ˈhaf How to pronounce behalf (audio) , -ˈhäf, bē- \

Definition of behalf

: interest, benefit also : support, defense argued in his behalf
on behalf of or in behalf of
: in the interest of also : as a representative of I wrote the letter on behalf of my client.

Keep scrolling for more

On Behalf of vs. in Behalf of: Usage Guide

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.

Examples of behalf in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The case was first filed on behalf of four inmates who contracted the virus — Brian Woodcock, Keath Bramblett, Ruben Rios Salinas and Jessica Lawrence. Andrew Wolfson, The Courier-Journal, 10 July 2021 But people mentioned in it include lawyer Matthew DePerno, who unsuccessfully sued the county on behalf of a resident, and ex-state senator Patrick Colbeck., 10 July 2021 Not guilty pleas were entered on behalf of all the defendants, who are being without bail pending a Friday hearing, The Associated Press reported. Marlene Lenthang, ABC News, 10 July 2021 This figure is an assassin that operates on behalf of the Red Room, the Soviets' top-secret program that takes young women and turns those who survive the training into Black Widow assassins. Nick Romano,, 10 July 2021 WinRed's court filings include an April 29 letter written by the New York Attorney General's Office on behalf of the attorneys general of all four states, outlining the information the AGs seek. Fredreka Schouten, CNN, 9 July 2021 Attorneys lined up in a Miami courtroom Wednesday to volunteer to work for victims of the deadly building collapse, and by week's end, the number of lawsuits filed on behalf of victims and their families had piled up. NBC News, 9 July 2021 The federal lawsuit, filed on behalf of Clark's children by the legal advocacy group ArchCity Defenders, names several police officers and the city as defendants. N'dea Yancey-bragg, USA TODAY, 9 July 2021 But people mentioned in it include lawyer Matthew DePerno, who unsuccessfully sued the county on behalf of a resident, and ex-state Sen. Patrick Colbeck. David Eggert, Star Tribune, 9 July 2021

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.

See More

First Known Use of behalf

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for behalf

Middle English, from by + half half, side

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About behalf

Time Traveler for behalf

Time Traveler

The first known use of behalf was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for behalf

Last Updated

14 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Behalf.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jul. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for behalf


be·​half | \ bi-ˈhaf How to pronounce behalf (audio) , -ˈhäf \

Kids Definition of behalf

: a person's interest or support He argued in my behalf.
on behalf of or in behalf of
1 : in the interest of I speak in behalf of my friend.
2 : as a representative of I accepted the award on behalf of the whole class.

More from Merriam-Webster on behalf

Nglish: Translation of behalf for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of behalf for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
True or False

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

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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