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.

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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 Debt settlement companies work on behalf of clients, without receiving subsidies from banks or other creditors. Russ Wiles, The Arizona Republic, "Are you financially stressed right now? What to know about options, from debt negotiation to bankruptcy," 8 Sep. 2020 The fundraiser by Amy Tarkanian, the former chairwoman of the Nevada GOP, on behalf of Kious, said that the salon owner had received threats and that all money raised will go to settling debts and reopening the salon in a new location. Carly Ortiz-lytle, Washington Examiner, "Salon owner blamed by Pelosi for 'setup' raises thousands to relocate her business after threats," 8 Sep. 2020 On Sunday, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence posted a five-point plan to fight racial injustice on behalf of college football players. Dallas News, "Texas Longhorns coach Tom Herman talks O-line, replacing WR depth ahead of Week 1 vs. UTEP," 7 Sep. 2020 Mulan, which tells the story of a young woman (Liu Yifei) who dresses up as a man and steps into battle on behalf of her sick father, is Disney’s first live-action film to feature an all-Asian and American-Asian cast. Lydia Wang,, "You Have Questions About The Mulan On Disney+ Situation. We’ve Got Answers," 7 Sep. 2020 Different states have different rules for who is allowed to handle mailed ballots on behalf of voters. Cara Korte, CBS News, "Election Day dictionary: All the terms you need to know before you vote in 2020," 6 Sep. 2020 These heroes on behalf of half-shells fanned out along a dirt service road and began to march across the scorched earth in search of reptile remains. The Salt Lake Tribune, "Biologists survey wildfire destruction on Utah tortoise habitat," 6 Sep. 2020 The judge overseeing the federal civil rights lawsuit filed recently on behalf of George Floyd's family has led a legal career placing her squarely at the center of some of the nation's most complex cases. Stephen Montemayor, Star Tribune, "Judge overseeing Floyd family's federal suit no stranger to high stakes litigation," 6 Sep. 2020 Journalist Lisa Shara Hall advocated tirelessly on behalf of Oregon and Washington wines. Michael Alberty | For The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, "Linfield University scholarship honors late wine journalist Lisa Shara Hall," 5 Sep. 2020

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.

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First Known Use of behalf

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for behalf

Middle English, from by + half half, side

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Time Traveler for behalf

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for behalf

Last Updated

11 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Behalf.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Sep. 2020.

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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

Comments on behalf

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