behest

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noun be·hest \bi-ˈhest, bē-\

Definition of behest

  1. 1 :  an authoritative order :  command The meeting was called at the senator's behest.

  2. 2 :  an urgent prompting At the behest of her friends, she read the poem aloud.

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Examples of behest in a Sentence

  1. I only made the change at the author's behest.

Did You Know?

Behest first appeared in 12th century Old English as behλst, which is formed from the prefix be- and the Old English verb hātan ("to command" or "to promise"). While the word was originally used only in the sense of "promise," it acquired the additional sense of "command" among speakers of Middle English. Among contemporary English speakers, behest is no longer used in the sense of "promise" but rather denotes an authoritative or urgent request or command. Old English hātan also gave English the now-archaic words hest (meaning "command") and hight ("being called or named").

Origin and Etymology of behest

Middle English, promise, command, from Old English behǣs promise, from behātan to promise, from be- + hātan to command, promise — more at hight


First Known Use: 12th century





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