be·​hind | \bi-ˈhīnd, 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; 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

Smaller cities are also pulling in educated workers, but are having trouble competing for the nation’s most prized jobs and biggest projects, while rural areas are falling behind. Janet Adamy, WSJ, "Big Cities’ Success Reflects Deepening Urban-Rural Divide," 14 Nov. 2018 The pipeline continues with the lack of tutoring programs, counseling services, college access programs, after-school programs, healthcare, proper nutrition, and other support services that would assist students who are falling behind. Valerie Strauss, Washington Post, "TEACHING FOR BLACK LIVES," 10 July 2018 The Marlins fell behind early due, in part, to missed opportunities. Matthew Defranks,, "**Brewers Marlins head**," 10 July 2018 Fountain Valley fell behind early, and West Garden Grove put on a display of power late to win 12-2 in the main draw of the PONY Bronco 12-and-under All-Stars Section tournament. Andrew Turner,, "Home runs, heat do in Fountain Valley PONY against West Garden Grove," 7 July 2018 Asuaje fouled off five pitches after falling behind 0-2 to Diamondbacks starter Shelby Miller (0-3). Kevin Acee,, "Padres hit, take opener against Diamondbacks," 5 July 2018 Those who can teach frequently focus their attention on smarter pupils, ensuring that laggards fall further behind. The Economist, "Universal lessons," 5 July 2018 Falling behind rattled the Belgians as Hazard clattered the post moments later. Ryland James,, "Chadli fires Belgium into World Cup's last eight," 2 July 2018 In Washington state, voters were considering the nation’s first carbon tax, a measure that was behind in the polls early Wednesday, though no official call had been made. Alejandro Lazo, WSJ, "Voters Expand Medicaid, Weigh In on Gas Taxes in Ballot Measures," 7 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Just as one girl stood up to share some of her thoughts, Michelle crept through the door and hugged her from behind — and the room erupted into tears and squeals of disbelief. Heather Finn, Good Housekeeping, "Watch Michelle Obama and Oprah Surprise a Group of Unsuspecting High School Girls," 13 Nov. 2018 In a rare moment of behind-the-scenes access, two Times journalists were permitted to sit in on a policy meeting whose attendees included Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey as well as the site’s safety team. Aja Romano, Vox, "Twitter is planning to draft a policy on “dehumanizing speech”," 11 Aug. 2018 Those shopping bags on the floor, sent by the German artist Maria Eichhorn, are filled with empty tea boxes, plastic water bottles, and chewing gum wrappers discarded by people installing the show, a kind of behind-the-scenes gallery diary. Joseph Giovannini, New York Times, "Swiss Institute Has a New Home Ready-Made for Art," 28 June 2018 Coming back from behind isn’t unheard of in hedge-fund land. Gregory Zuckerman, WSJ, "Oil Hedge Fund Giant Hammered in Crude’s Slide," 15 Nov. 2018 Shortly after Kim arrived at the airport, Huong was seen approaching him, clasping her hands on his face from behind and then fleeing. Fox News, "Key ruling looms for women on trial for Kim Jong Nam murder," 15 Aug. 2018 Shortly after Kim arrived at the airport, Huong was seen approaching him, clasping her hands on his face from behind and then fleeing. Eileen Ng, The Seattle Times, "Judge may acquit women or call defense in Kim Jong Nam trial," 14 Aug. 2018 As Blue lies lifeless, a duplicate — Blue's ghost! — rises from behind and floats toward heaven before a blue dove pulls it back and reconnects the two, body and spirit. Bill Keveney, USA TODAY, "Exclusive: Watch glowing 'AGT' duo explode into colorful sparks in tonight's audition," 19 June 2018 The most exhilarating action of the period came when David Backes hit Dan Girardi from behind and Lightning forward Cedric Paquette attempted to stand up for his defenseman. Tyler Horka,, "Stanley Cup Playoffs Roundup: Palat Leads Lightning Past Bruins; Sharks Knot Series in Game 4," 2 May 2018

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

12 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

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)

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


be·​hind | \bi-ˈhīnd \

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

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