be·​hest | \ bi-ˈhest How to pronounce behest (audio) , bē- \

Definition of behest

1 : an authoritative order : command The meeting was called at the senator's behest.
2 : an urgent prompting At the behest of her friends, she read the poem aloud.

Did you know?

Behest first appeared in Old English and was formed from the prefix be- and the verb hātan ("to command" or "to promise"). While this 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").

Examples of behest in a Sentence

I only made the change at the author's behest.
Recent Examples on the Web Monaleo started performing as a young child, singing at the behest of her grandmother in front of her small Baptist church in Houston, Texas, a congregation that was then about 15 or 20 people strong. Talia Smith, Allure, 9 May 2022 Training Ukrainians very near to or inside Ukraine would be something a contractor might keep quiet for its own reasons and at the behest of the U.S. government. Eric Tegler, Forbes, 6 May 2022 One of the chief sponsors of the legislation, state Rep. Justin Slaughter, a Chicago Democrat, told the Tribune in February that the controversial provision was added to the SAFE-T Act at the behest of the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association. Alice Yin, Chicago Tribune, 4 May 2022 Bill Richardson, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and former governor of New Mexico, will be working at the behest of Brittney Griner’s family to help secure her release, Fox News Digital confirmed Tuesday. Ryan Gaydos, Fox News, 4 May 2022 At the behest of Rohrer and others, the city agreed to extend the bidding process until April 28 to increase the chances of identifying bidders for all the lifeboats. Hugo Martínstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 4 May 2022 Lamprecht was speaking on the sidelines of a meeting that had been arranged in a matter of days at the behest of Washington. Christiaan Hetzner, Fortune, 26 Apr. 2022 Levinson’s latest film, premiering April 27 on HBO, stars Ben Foster as Harry Haft, a real man who survived Auschwitz by boxing other prisoners at the behest of the Nazis. Sasha Urban, Variety, 25 Apr. 2022 At the behest of Gov. Ron DeSantis, the Florida legislature last week voted to strip Disney of its ability to exercise governmental powers in the area surrounding its theme parks. Richard Galant, CNN, 24 Apr. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'behest.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of behest

12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for behest

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

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Time Traveler for behest

Time Traveler

The first known use of behest was in the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near behest

behenic acid



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Statistics for behest

Last Updated

13 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Behest.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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Nglish: Translation of behest for Spanish Speakers


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