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.

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 This was an odd, yet admittedly entertaining choice on behalf of Coppola, the sole writer of the screenplay. Calie Schepp,, 21 Sep. 2022 Jackson is already facing a separate lawsuit filed last year on behalf of hundreds of children who may have been exposed to toxic lead levels in drinking water. Derek Hawkins, Washington Post, 21 Sep. 2022 Founded in the fall of 2020, Friends of Madison Park boasts a simple mission to advocate on behalf of the park. John Benson, cleveland, 21 Sep. 2022 Doe, now 22, filed her lawsuit earlier this month on behalf of herself and her younger brother. Jon Blistein, Rolling Stone, 21 Sep. 2022 Last month, Jane Doe sued Haddish, 42, and Spears, 47, in California's Superior Court for Los Angeles County on behalf of herself and a minor identified as John Doe, her younger brother. Shafiq Najib, Peoplemag, 20 Sep. 2022 In the deposition on behalf of the firm, the company executive said Hampton, the elections supervisor, had directed the majority of the team’s work. Jon Swaine And Emma Brown, Anchorage Daily News, 20 Sep. 2022 Haley, through her Stand for America PAC, has been crisscrossing the country this cycle on behalf of fellow Republicans running in the 2022 elections. Paul Steinhauser, Fox News, 20 Sep. 2022 At the news conference, Aileen Velazquez, Chicago’s chief procurement officer, expressed grief on behalf of Mayor Lori Lightfoot and her colleagues for those affected by Category 3 Fiona. Adriana Pérez, Chicago Tribune, 20 Sep. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of behalf

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for behalf

Middle English, from by + half half, side

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

Dictionary Entries Near behalf

be had



See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for behalf

Last Updated

24 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Behalf.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 2022.

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

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

Odd Habits and Quirks

  • image1926873504
  • Which of the following best describes an easily irritated person?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

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!