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

Meanwhile, Washington keeps making more promises on behalf of future workers. James Freeman, WSJ, "A Historic Shortage of Americans," 15 May 2019 Under the new Medicaid Provider Reassignment Regulation, states will be unable to make Medicaid payments to third parties like health insurance providers or unions on behalf of an individual worker. Kim Kelly, Teen Vogue, "Home Care Workers are the Latest Vulnerable Group Under Attack by the Trump Administration," 10 May 2019 During the visit, which was made on behalf of his grandmother the Queen, William paid tribute to the victims of the Christchurch mosque shootings and visited survivors recovering from the attacks in the hospital. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Prince William and Kate Middleton Celebrate Their Wedding Anniversary With a Sweet Instagram Post," 29 Apr. 2019 This would allow people, or organizations, to bring lawsuits on behalf of wild rice arguing that the grain itself was being harmed through an action. Rory Taylor, Teen Vogue, "How Rights of Nature Legislation Affords Legal Standing, or Personhood, to Natural Entities," 22 Apr. 2019 In December 2015, according to the Mueller report, Duma invited Donald and Ivanka Trump to the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on behalf of Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Prikhodko. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Fashion Influencer Miroslava Duma Is in the Mueller Report Because of Her Link to Ivanka Trump," 18 Apr. 2019 Halima Adan Ali, based in Kenya, was also placed on the sanctions list for allegedly facilitating payments in Syria, Libya and central Africa on behalf of Islamic State fighters, the Treasury Department said. Kristin Broughton, WSJ, "U.S. Treasury Targets Islamic State Financial Network With Sanctions," 15 Apr. 2019 But friends of Ola Bini say the soft-spoken encryption expert is being unfairly targeted for his activism on behalf of digital privacy. Frank Bajak, The Seattle Times, "Ace Swedish coder held by Ecuador was defender of Assange," 14 Apr. 2019 Soon the mayor of Tokyo, Yukio Ozak, had agreed to donate cherry trees as a sign of goodwill on behalf of the city. Maggie Maloney, Town & Country, "How Cherry Blossoms Became the Most Celebrated Event of the Spring," 2 Apr. 2019

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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Dictionary Entries near behalf



be had



be hard/tough to beat


Statistics for behalf

Last Updated

19 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for behalf

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

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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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on behalf

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with behalf

Spanish Central: Translation of behalf

Nglish: Translation of behalf for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of behalf for Arabic Speakers

Comments on behalf

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


highly pertinent or appropriate

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