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

Prosecutors said that between 2013 and 2018, Bianchi acted on behalf of Korshunov to hire current or former employees of the GE subsidiary to do consulting work. Cameron Knight,, "Russian, Italian nationals accused of stealing trade secrets from GE Aviation," 5 Sep. 2019 According to media reports, Governor Greg Abbott issued a statement on behalf of the mother. Kara Quebedeaux, Houston Chronicle, "Toddler wounded in Odessa mass shooting receives outpouring of support and donations," 4 Sep. 2019 John Ravaris, who spoke on behalf of the Delafield Citizens for Responsible Growth, said the proposal was well received at a neighborhood meeting. Evan Frank, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Delafield medical campus proposal gets favorable feedback from residents, planners," 4 Sep. 2019 The suit was filed on behalf of three former workers from Arkansas, but seeks class-action status for hundreds of thousands more. William Thornton |, al, "Federal lawsuit claims chicken producers fix wages, benefits," 3 Sep. 2019 Bell spoke to USA TODAY Sports on behalf of Madden NFL 20, the popular video game that launched a brand new playing mode called Superstar KO on Tuesday. Lorenzo Reyes, USA TODAY, "Jets RB Le'Veon Bell: Steelers 'had something special and they let it go'," 3 Sep. 2019 Actor Danny Glover appeared on behalf of Bernie Sanders at a rally for Kaiser workers in Oakland’s Mosswood Park. Rachel Swan,, "Times change but politicians still turn out on Labor Day in the East Bay," 2 Sep. 2019 Instead of their kids getting automatic citizenship, the parents would have to apply for it on behalf of their children, a process that will take time and money. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Another Trump whirlwind week on immigration and the border," 1 Sep. 2019 That mostly means Amazon, which handles almost half of American online sales on behalf of 1.9m suppliers. The Economist, "Shopify and the return of the merchant class," 31 Aug. 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

8 Sep 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).


readily or continually undergoing change

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