be·​hind | \ bi-ˈhīnd How to pronounce behind (audio) , bē-\

Definition of behind

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : in the place or situation that is being or has been departed from stay behind
b : in, to, or toward the back look behind came from behind
c : later in time can spring be far behind
2a : in a secondary or inferior position
b : in arrears behind in the rent
c : slow
3 archaic : still to come



Definition of behind (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : in or to a place or situation in back of or to the rear of look behind you put behind bars
b used as a function word to indicate something that screens an observer the sun went behind a cloud
c : following in order marched behind the band
2 used as a function word to indicate backwardness, delay, or deficiency behind the timesbehind schedulelagged behind last year's sales
3a : in the background of the conditions behind the strike
b : out of the mind or consideration of put our troubles behind us
c : beyond in depth or time the story behind the story go back behind St. Augustine
4a : in support of : on the side of solidly behind the candidate
b : with the support of won 1–0 behind brilliant pitching


be·​hind | \ ˈbē-ˌhīnd How to pronounce behind (audio) ; bi-ˈhīnd, bē-\

Definition of behind (Entry 3 of 3)

: buttocks often used as a euphemism for ass in idiomatic expressions get your behind over here

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Synonyms & Antonyms for behind

Synonyms: Adverb or adjective

behindhand, belated, delinquent, late, latish, overdue, tardy

Synonyms: Preposition

abaft, back of

Synonyms: Noun

backside, booty (also bootie) [slang], bottom, breech, bum, buns, butt, buttocks, caboose, can, cheeks, derriere (or derrière), duff, fanny, fundament, hams, haunches, heinie [slang], hunkers, keister (also keester) [slang], nates, posterior, rear, rear end, rump, seat, tail, tail end, tush [slang]

Antonyms: Adverb or adjective

early, inopportune, precocious, premature, unseasonable, untimely

Antonyms: Preposition


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Examples of behind in a Sentence


The older students entered the room first with the younger students following behind them. The cat hid behind the couch. The sun went behind a cloud. They were ahead of us by 5 points earlier in the game, but now they're behind us by 7. The polls show that he is behind the other candidates. The company is now behind the competition. He was behind the other students in his studies.


kicked him in the behind
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb or adjective

The Paris climate accord was left behind, alienating not only our allies but all 195 nations in the world. Dallas News, "Letters - Floyd McLendon, Ken Paxton, John Ratcliffe, U.S. budget deal, foreign meddling, Saudi arms deal,," 2 Aug. 2019 In a cashless economy the poor, the elderly and country folk may be left behind. The Economist, "Rich countries must start planning for a cashless future," 1 Aug. 2019 For subscribers: When coal jobs leave an Appalachian town, what happens to the mining families left behind? Ben Tobin, The Courier-Journal, "Almost 200 employees at a Kentucky Ford Motor supplier plant are being laid off," 31 July 2019 It was surprisingly ended by Jess of all people, who scolded the mothers for risking ruining the legacy left behind by JoJo and her fellow team mates. Laura Hanrahan, Woman's Day, "Watch 'Dance Moms' Stars Elliana Walmsley and Lilly Ketchman Recreate Jojo Siwa’s Solos," 27 July 2019 But there are many things that various astronauts and their instruments left behind have learned. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "The Moon: An Explainer," 25 July 2019 Scott Rozelle, a professor at Stanford, found that most kids left behind in the rural villages are sick or malnourished and that up to two-thirds struggle with combinations of anemia, worms, and uncorrected myopia, which set them back at school. Joel Kotkin, National Review, "The Return to Serfdom," 25 July 2019 There is plenty of American patriotic spirit to get behind when watching the Women's World Cup, men's Gold Cup, Tour de France and Wimbledon this weekend. Dana Scott, azcentral, "What to watch in sports this weekend," 5 July 2019 Rapinoe was one of the first white players to publicly support and get behind Kaepernick’s protest. Claudia Harmata,, "Everything to Know About Megan Rapinoe, the U.S. Women's National Team's Star Forward," 2 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Bauer's exit comes three days after the quirky right-hander angrily threw a ball from the behind mound over the center-field wall in Kansas City. Tom Withers,, "Indians trade fiery Trevor Bauer to Reds, land Yasiel Puig in three-team deal," 31 July 2019 The team raced out to a 5-0 advantage after the first inning only to watch the PYBSA boys fight back and score four come-from-behind runs in the second inning, tying it in the third. Robert Avery, Houston Chronicle, "Pickle juice, balk call give Deer Park 10s No. 3 seed; 12s secure No. 2 seed," 26 July 2019 Extra tents, deep fryers, pull-behind smokers, open flames and loud generators are forbidden. Andrew Wolfson, The Courier-Journal, "Tired of setting up your own Cardinals tailgate? For $10K, a company will do it for you," 25 July 2019 In the behind-the-scenes snap shared by Spelling on June 2, the mom of five was captured standing beside an outdoor dining table in Vancouver, Canada, alongside her costars Gabrielle Carteris, 58, and Jennie Garth, 47. Joelle Goldstein,, "Dean McDermott Reveals His Son Walked in on Him Having Sex with Wife Tori Spelling," 24 June 2019 The young man had more or less stopped thrashing and was lying limply beneath the brothers’ substantial behinds. Colin Barrett, Harper's magazine, "The Alps," 22 July 2019 The media firestorm describing behinds the scenes turmoil in the athletic department took over the narrative as 19 days passed between Malzahn’s press conferences. Sam Blum |,, "He’s 'totally different’: The reason why Gus Malzahn is exercising again," 22 July 2019 Pasadena paraded 12 batters to the plate in its final at-bat, scoring eight come-from-behind runs as the team belted Deer Park 13-9 in a first-round Coast Region Tournament contest at Bay Area Park Friday night. Robert Avery, Houston Chronicle, "Pasadena Pony All-Stars open Coast Region Tournament by thumping Deer Park," 13 July 2019 Fanning previously shared a pair of behind-the-scenes snaps, including a hilarious photo of Jolie, horns and all, tossing up a peace sign in a bathrobe. Ale Russian,, "Angelina Jolie and Michelle Pfeiffer Square Off in New Maleficent: Mistress of Evil Trailer," 8 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'behind.' 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 behind

Adverb or adjective

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


circa 1830, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for behind

Adverb or adjective

Middle English behinde, from Old English behindan, from be- + hindan from behind; akin to Old English hinder behind — more at hind


Middle English behinde, behinden, from behinde, behinden, behind entry 1


noun derivative of behind entry 1

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Statistics for behind

Last Updated

8 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for behind

The first known use of behind was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for behind



English Language Learners Definition of behind

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: in or toward the back
: in the place that someone is going away from
: later in time



English Language Learners Definition of behind (Entry 2 of 3)

: in or to a place at the back of or to the rear of (someone or something)
: losing to (someone or something) in a race or competition
: in a less advanced position than (someone or something) : not happening or proceeding as quickly as (someone or something)



English Language Learners Definition of behind (Entry 3 of 3)

informal : the part of the body above the legs that is used for sitting


be·​hind | \ bi-ˈhīnd How to pronounce behind (audio) \

Kids Definition of behind

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : in a place that is being or has been left You can leave your books behind.
2 : in, to, or toward the back look behind fall behind
3 : not up to the general level behind in math
4 : not keeping up to a schedule behind in his payments



Kids Definition of behind (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : at or to the back of behind the door
2 : not up to the level of Sales are behind those of last year.
3 : out of the thoughts of Let's put our troubles behind us.
4 : responsible for Who's behind these pranks?
5 : in support of We're behind you all the way!

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More from Merriam-Webster on behind

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with behind

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for behind

Spanish Central: Translation of behind

Nglish: Translation of behind for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of behind for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about behind

Comments on behind

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of or relating to the heavens

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